THREE council gritters have been renamed by local residents in preparation of the winter months ahead.

Last month, St Helens Council announced the investment of three new modern gritters to keep the borough's road network safe from sleet and snow this winter.

With the gritters coming at a cost of £375,000, the council launched a competition for residents to rename the vehicles that will be soon travelling across the borough.

Following numerous quick-witted submissions, the three gritters have now been renamed as 'Grit Astley - Never Gonna Slip You Up', 'Jonny Snowmax (Jonny Lomax), and Sleetwood Mac.

The winning names were submitted by Stephen Bennett, seven-year-old George and three-year-old Oscar, and Sophie and Jack respectively.

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St Helens Star: The council launched a competition to rename the grittersThe council launched a competition to rename the gritters (Image: St Helens Council)
Fitted with GPS tracking systems which provide live and archived data, the new vehicles are said to be considerably more efficient than older diesel vehicles, producing far fewer emissions.  

The latest additions bring the total winter maintenance operational vehicles to a nine-strong fleet, with crews on standby 24-7 from now until mid-April.

Once road surface temperatures approach zero degrees, they will be out to cover seven key routes across more than 178 miles of local road network to keep the borough's roads open for the morning commutes and school runs.  

Last year, the council carried out 62 gritting operations during the winter maintenance period. 

St Helens Star: The three gritters were purchased ahead of the winter monthsThe three gritters were purchased ahead of the winter months (Image: St Helens Council)
Previously commenting on the new gritters, Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron MBE, Deputy Leader of St Helens Borough and Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, said: 

"The team deserve a huge amount of credit for the exceptional job they do year after year, working all hours and in very challenging conditions to ensure our highways are safe for road users.  

"With this latest investment, our winter road maintenance service is now more resilient than ever before, standing ready to combat ice and snow as we move into the colder months. It's a vital service that I'm glad to see improved through our expansive fleet modernisation programme, and one that will certainly benefit residents this winter."

For more information on the winter maintenance programme, you can visit the council website here.