‘Deceptive’ road conditions across Devon as A380 reopens

Posted on: 2 March 2018

Road conditions across Devon today have been described as ‘deceptive’ by the County Council’s Highways Operations Manager, Chris Cranston.

“Despite relatively little snow overnight, the freezing rain across the county has left many roads still impassable, and people are being encouraged to think carefully about making any journeys until the roads have been cleared,” he said.

“We are just reopening the A380 Northbound, and the rest of the major road network is now generally passable with care with 4-wheel drive vehicles, although the situation is still variable across the county.

“The biggest problem we are dealing with at the moment is damage to the A379 at Torcross, due to the high tides.   The road is currently closed and drivers are advised to avoid the area.”

The diversion route for the Torcross road is the A379 via Kingsbridge and the A381 to Totnes Cross and the A3122 to Dartmouth.

Roads that are still impassable include the A379 in the South Hams.  The A379 between Shaldon and Torquay is also impassable, although the coast road from Kingsteignton to Teignmouth and Dawlish is currently open and passable with care.

All roads across Dartmoor and Exmoor are generally impassable, and the A382 through Moretonhampstead is blocked.

The A399 and A39 around Exmoor are impassable and we are seeing some snow drifts of 6ft deep on the route.  The A39 at Bucks Cross near Bideford is also affected by drifting snow.

The A380 across Telegraph Hill is being re-opened Northbound from Kingsteignton to Exeter and the teams hope to reopen the Southbound lane shortly afterwards.

The minor road network across the county is generally in a poor and impassable condition, although it is better in Northern parts of Devon than the South.

Everywhere there is a risk of ice on the untreated network.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management said:  “We’ve had over a hundred highways staff out overnight through treacherous conditions trying to clear our major roads, and I want to pay tribute to them, to our colleagues in emergency services, to the incredible communities, snow wardens and rest centre staff who have helped those who were left stranded, or are vulnerable.

“Our priority today is the A road network, and our snow ploughs and gritters are out trying to clear roads.  However, we are not expecting to get through on our secondary routes to the smaller communities today, particularly across the moors, and we expect it to be a few days before we are in a position to get to some of these areas.

“We are expecting further snow today across parts of Devon, with possible rain in some areas.

“Our advice today is to delay travel – don’t expect to travel on the minor road network and if you do need to travel, please check with Devon Alert and Devon News Centre.

“People may be tempted this morning to think it’s business as usual and try to go about driving to work as normal. But they shouldn’t.”

The Council, the Police and other partners, have been working through the night to attend to the road network.

Meanwhile health and social care teams are continuing to work together to identify and support vulnerable people.

“We’re identifying vulnerable people at risk, and using a multi-agency 4 x 4 response team to reach people in more isolated areas of the county,” said Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, who has Cabinet responsibility for adult social care.

“We’re in constant contact with our home care providers.  They have good plans in place to ensure that care arrangements can be maintained throughout adverse weather.

“We’re reminding the public to give thought to elderly or otherwise vulnerable family members, neighbours and friends.  Be in touch. Make sure they’re OK and that they’ve got what they need to stay warm, fed and hydrated.  Even if you don’t know your neighbours, now’s a good time to be in touch.

“We want to pay tribute to the hundreds of dedicated care workers and support staff who have battled through the weather to provide care and support to thousands of vulnerable people right across Devon.”

 The list of Devon schools closed today, according to the Council’s website, stands at more than 300.

Devon County Council is reminding people of the following advice:

  • Avoid travel on all but the major networks and check before you leave.
  • ·Try to look after any elderly or vulnerable neighbours – check on them and make sure they are warm, well and have enough to eat.
  • Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18oC, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over. NHS Choices has more information on staying healthy during cold weather;
  • Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions and ensure you are stocked with food and medications
  • Check out any school closures and sign up for alerts for any school by clicking on ‘Alert Me’.

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

4 comments on “‘Deceptive’ road conditions across Devon as A380 reopens

  1. Douglas says:

    Totnes seems to have been abandoned! The A381, A384 and A385 have been impassable for all but 4x4s since Thursday, leaving the town completely shut off.. Many cars (and double-decker buses) still abandoned on Friday night. Some drivers from far away were diverted off the A38 and ended up totally stranded in Totnes overnight and still here on Friday night. Luckily the local community found somewhere for them to stay. No thanks to DCC.

    • david.beasley says:

      Hi Douglas the A384, A385 and A381 back to Newton Abbot are all fully open and accessible today.


  2. Darren says:

    The update is great. However there is going to be a food shortage unless the council clear the roads in to Buckfastleigh, and Buckfast. I had a 2 hour walk into Buckfastleigh co op, they have no bread or milk. How are we to maintain supplies.

    • david.beasley says:

      Hi Darren

      We are doing everything we can to clear the road in a tricky situation – a gritter has been treating the route over the last few hours and hopefully soon things will become easier

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