Gateshead Council’s salt storage, 11 years later

In 2008, Rubb rose to the challenge to design, manufacture, and install a custom salt storage barn to support Gateshead Council’s expanding winter road maintenance plans.

Eleven years later, Rubb returned to the site to find out about the long-term benefits of our salt barns first-hand. We were guided by Interim Street Scene Director, Philip Hindmarsh.

“It’s an excellent facility that provides protection for the salt,” Mr Hindmarsh said. “It enables far more efficient use of that resource, and also protects the environment.”

The salt barn is custom designed to sit on top of a 3m high concrete supporting wall. In total, the salt storage structure measures 30m wide x 30m long, with a tapered leg height of 5m. The overall height of the storage facility is 13m.

Having been around since 2008, the salt storage barn has faced two of Britain’s worst winters on record: 2010 and 2017.

“In February and March of 2017 our salt supplies were really hammered, and we used a large proportion of our stock.. In 2010 we used the full 20,000 tonnes and had to purchase more from Peru. Many councils now take part in the government’s salt sharing scheme.”

When asked about other challenges overcome by Rubb’s salt storage, Mr Hindmarsh said: “It is very difficult to cover the salt and protect it from the elements outside, so a salt barn is a much better solution. It also provides a better working environment for staff and the drivers when loading up the gritters.”

The building benefits from an open front gable end to maximise storage space and accessibility. To handle this large opening, the rear gable of the building is reinforced with anti-flap PVC pockets to prevent fabric damage from strong winds. This is especially important, as the Gateshead site is laid out in such a way that makes it impossible to turn the structure’s opening away from the prevailing wind.

We asked Mr Hindmarsh how it fared over the years in these challenging conditions.

“It has performed well,” he said. “The building faces the prevailing wind and has stood up to the corrosive environment over time to protect the salt.”

To conclude our visit, we asked Mr Hindmarsh what he thought of the facility’s overall performance.

“It’s great; it’s done its job. It has stood the test of time for eleven years with minimal repairs. It has performed well, despite facing the prevailing wind.”

Even in harsh conditions, Rubb structures really are built to last. With eleven years to its name already, this facility is set to last for many more.