Environment

Gritters remain out in force across Devon to keep main routes open

Posted on: 23 January 2013

Gritters remain out in force across Devon today (Wednesday 23 January) keeping all main routes open and passable with care.

Devon County Council, the Highways Agency, and Devon and Cornwall Police are advising drivers to continue to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they set out. 

Rain, sleet and snow flurries will continue this afternoon, moving northwards.  North Devon and Exmoor particularly are likely to get showers throughout the afternoon and some of these could be heavy.

With A-roads clear, Devon’s gritters are continuing to treat the secondary gritting routes accessing smaller communities and where resources are available, town centre footpaths have been cleared.

The Highways Agency’s winter fleet has been working around the clock to keep traffic flowing on motorways and major trunk roads and will continue to treat roads whenever there is a risk of ice or snow. 

Devon County Council, the Highways Agency, and Devon and Cornwall Police are advising drivers to continue to check the weather forecast and road conditions before they set out.  

The most significant amounts of snow overnight fell in North and East Devon as well as on higher ground in Okehampton, Dartmoor and Exmoor. 

The A361 North Devon Link Road was closed for a short time last night and lorries had to be stacked briefly at Bolham, as part of the snow plan for the Link Road. The Haldon Hill and Telegraph Hill response plan has also been in operation.

Heavy isolated snow caused some disruption on the A380 Ashcombe Cross to Kingsteignton and the B3192 this morning but they are now reported as clear. A jack-knifed lorry has been cleared from Trow Hill near Sidford on the A3052, traffic is slow moving on the A375 at Sidbury and the Chineway Hill in Ottery St Mary is closed.

North of Barnstaple, Mullacott Cross, Ilfracombe and Lynton have suffered some of the heaviest snowfall. Additional gritting treatments were targeted this morning at Aller Cross and Barnstaple this morning and ploughs, diggers and snow blowers are being used in north Devon and on Exmoor at Brendon Common and County Gate.

Devon’s fleet of gritters will be treating 1,700 miles of the county’s roads from around 6pm this evening and again at 3am before returning to the secondaries tomorrow morning.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said:

“Gritting teams have been working constantly throughout last night and this morning to keep roads as clear as possible and they will be continuing their efforts overnight. There have been isolated pockets of disruption where the snow has been heaviest but highways teams are working as hard as possible to keep Devon moving.

“We would urge people to continue to keep an eye on the forecast, be alert to the conditions and take extreme care. Road temperatures across the county are set to fall below freezing tonight, so roads may become icy, particularly off the treated network.  Please allow extra time for your journey, and avoid unnecessary travel this evening.”

Motorists are reminded of the following advice:

·       Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;

·       Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;

·       Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;

·       Drive with care and according to the conditions;

·       If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;

·       Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.

For more information on severe weather warnings visit www.metoffice.gov.uk

Information about a winter driving kit and other advice to help motorists be prepared for winter is on the Highways Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk/winter

Up-to-date information on road conditions on England’s motorways and trunk roads is available on the Highways Agency website, or by calling the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

For information on motorways and trunk roads in the South West follow us at @HAtraffic_swest or for the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter

Traffic information is also available on Twitter on @winterhighways and on Facebook .

For more information and travel advice visit Devon County Council’s website, or for updates on Twitter follow @HughHOCC and @Devonroads

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Posted in: Environment