SNOW LATEST: More disruption to come
Latest information from Devon County Council.
MORE disruption is expected across Devon tomorrow as freezing conditions and wintry showers are set to hit the county again overnight.
Snowfall has eased considerably throughout the day, but driving remains almost impossible on all but the major roads.
The Met Office has forecast a widespread frost, with temperatures reaching as low as -5C tonight, and a warning has been issued for icy roads tomorrow morning.
Gritters have been working continuously throughout the day and will be treating 1,700 miles of the main roads around the county this evening and in the early hours. The Highways Agency’s fleet of gritters will also be out treating 170 miles, of the strategic road network in the county. The Agency also has snow ploughs ready to deal with any significant accumulations.
Traffic problems were reported on Haldon Hill and Telegraph Hill this morning but the Haldon Response Plan has worked well, with traffic being controlled at certain times of the day to allow gritters and ploughs additional time to clear the roads and keep vehicles moving.
The A361 North Devon Link Road was closed earlier but re-opened before midday after four ploughs and eight gritters worked to clear the road. The A30 between Exeter and Honiton was also impassable this morning but three Highways Agency gritters and ploughs have worked on the dual carriageway to ensure it was re-opened, although some stranded vehicles remain there. All of these roads remain open and passable with extreme care.
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Chief Inspector Chris Booty said: “We are seeing an improving picture but the advice remains the same – do not drive unless your journey is critical.
Even as the roads have been cleared and become passable, with caution, there are a number of broken down vehicles and lorries jack–knifing which is posing an additional hazard to road users.
“The Police have worked hard throughout the early hours along with Devon County Council and the Highways Agency and we continue to do so. This partnership working has ensured the Haldon Hill Severe Weather plan has worked very well and traffic, although slow, is moving. Thank you to motorists who had heeded the advice and stayed at home which made the joint response much easier. Of course we can never control the weather but with the correct planning we can minimise disruption to residents and drivers but please remember to be patient and only undertake the most essential of journeys.”
Snow drifts of up to 5ft have been reported from Princetown to Dartmeet, which JCB’s are attempting to clear.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We have seen all of the agencies working well together and that has ensured that the majority of our major roads have kept moving as much as possible in what are extreme circumstances. All of our teams will be working round the clock again to keep our network as clear as they can, but conditions will remain treacherous and motorists must take extreme care if they are considering travelling.”
Highways Agency Route Performance Manager, Nigel Dyson, said: “We are pleased with the way all the agencies have worked together in dealing with some very challenging conditions on the roads today and this joined up approach ensured that the Haldon Hill Plan worked well.”
Motorists are reminded of the following advice:
* Avoid all but essential/critical journeys. If you have to travel, drive according to the conditions;
* Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;
* Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;
* If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;