Road users urged to travel with caution

Posted on: 22 January 2013

Commuters and other road users are being urged to take care this evening as heavy snow is forecast.

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

Devon County Council is warning that conditions on the local highway network will be challenging from this afternoon as rain throughout much of today has washed salt from the roads.

Devon County Council gritters are already treating around 1,700 miles of the precautionary salting network and are planning to work around the clock, with further treatments at 4pm, 9pm and 3am. The Met Office has issued an amber alert, forecasting that there may be up to 10cm of snow on higher ground. Snow could also be widespread across East and North Devon and there is a risk of ice tomorrow morning.

The Highways Agency, which is responsible for motorways and major A roads, has also issued an amber alert. If conditions are poor and journeys are not essential drivers are advised to think about delaying until conditions improve and allowing the winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.

The Highways Agency has been working round the clock to keep traffic moving and its fleet of snow ploughs and salt spreaders will continue to treat the 170 miles of the strategic road network in the county whenever there is a risk of ice or snow.

Vehicles have been deployed to Haldon Hill, Telegraph Hill and the North Devon Link Road, gearing up for the potential of heavy snow starting this afternoon and continuing into and beyond this evening’s peak period. The Forward Command Point has been established at Haldon Hill and Telegraph Hill this afternoon to monitor conditions.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “The mix of rain, sleet and snow is making it difficult for our highways teams and travelling conditions could become hazardous, particularly during rush hour this evening and tomorrow morning.

“Even though temperatures may not be as low as we’ve had recently, everyone should be prepared for the possibility of travel disruption and plan their journey accordingly. Please keep an eye on the forecast, be alert to the conditions and 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.

Information about a winter driving kit and other advice to help motorists be prepared for winter is on the Highways Agency website at http://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 http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or by calling the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000. For information on motorways and trunk roads in the South West follow @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 (www.facebook.com/winterhighways).

For more information and travel advice from Devon County Council visit: www.devon.gov.uk/winter_travel or for updates on Twitter follow @HughHOCC and @Devonroads

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