Gritters out in force as Devon's cold snap continues

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By PGStrange | Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 19:41

GRITTERS REMAIN out in force across Devon this evening (Wednesday 23 January) as the cold snap continues. All main routes are reported as being open and passable with care. However this evening the Met Office issued a yellow warning for more snow in the South West. It's thought it will affect South and East Devon and Exmoor. And with a big freeze predicted overnight, ice could be a problem tomorrow morning…

Snow has continued on and off throughout the day in the region. The most significant amounts of snow fell overnight in North and East Devon as well as on higher ground in Okehampton, Dartmoor and Exmoor. Up to six inches of snow has fallen today in some places and there have been a number of minor accidents.

Late this afternoon, Devon and Cornwall Police said that snow was falling in Mid and East Devon, making driving conditions hazardous. Police have advised drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

It's also been reported that there have been problems on the M5 and gritting lorries have been unable to reach Cullompton. However it's understood that some gritting by hand has now taken place in the town.

Slow moving

Road conditions are also said to be difficult east of Honiton – particularly on the A375 Honiton to Sidmouth Road, where traffic has also been slow moving at Sidbury. There have also been problems on the A3052 in the Seaton area. Earlier on the same road, a jack-knifed lorry had to be cleared from Trow Hill near Sidford.

Minor collisions

Police officers dealt with numerous minor collisions during the day. 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 Devon County Council's snow plan for the Link Road. The council says that its response plan for Haldon Hill and Telegraph Hill has also been in operation.

Snow ploughs

Heavy isolated snow caused some disruption on the A380 Ashcombe Cross to Kingsteignton and on the B3192 this morning, but following work by snow ploughs and gritters, these roads are now reported as clear.

More snow to come

The outlook this evening is of more snow to come – it's reported to be back again on the eastern slopes of Dartmoor, which may affect the A38. The snow will ease, but there are worries that a big freeze overnight will bring a risk of ice, causing problems in the morning. Looking further afield, wetter weather is coming our way.

Isolated pockets

Devon County Council says its fleet of gritters will be treating 1,700 miles of the county's roads from this evening and again at 3am before returning to the secondary salting network 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."

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