Gritter lorries have been an unusual sight on the roads as County Antrim continues to bake in the current heatwave.
With temperatures reaching 30 degrees centigrade in many areas – some of the highest for decades – the tar on many roads has been melting.
The gritter lorries – normally spotted on the roads during freezing winter conditions – were scrambled to spread sand and grit on the hottest highways in a bid to stop roads from peeling away onto the wheels of traffic.
One road badly affected was the Corbally Road at Galgorm.
Roads bosses confirmed they sprayed the road with dust.
At Corbally Road at mid-afternoon on Friday large patches of the sand could be seen on the melting surface.
Local people said the temperatures were so high their shoes had been sticking in the tarmac and leaving imprints when they walked on the road.
Car drivers were urged to exercise caution.
Gritter lorries could be seen coming and going from the roads depot in the Pennybridge area of Ballymena on Friday.
A Department for Infrastructure spokeswoman told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “Recent very hot weather has led to a rise in road surface temperatures and with limited cooling at night, the bitumen in some roads has softened.
“The Department has been spreading fine dust/grit on the worst affected roads, including Corbally Road and will continue to do so as necessary.
“The same gritter lorries are being used however we are currently spreading a mixture of sand and grit which differs to the salt used to treat the roads in winter.
“Road users should continue to exercise due care and attention at all times, take extra care when braking on melting surfaces and obey road signs. Problems with the roads can be reported at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/report-pothole”.
Officials did not gave any estimate of how much the work is costing.