Devon’s highways teams working through the night

Posted on: 2 March 2018

Highways teams continue to work through the night to treat Devon’s main roads, ahead of a forecast of more freezing temperatures overnight which looks set to render roads hazardous in many parts of the county.

Snow blowers, snow ploughs and gritters have been working over the last 48 hours to clear the majority of A roads in the county, although some in moorland areas are still impassable.

Most minor B roads are blocked with snow drifts of 6-8 feet remaining on some roads.

Devon’s fleet of gritters will continue working overnight, but the advice to people remains not to travel on the county’s roads unless absolutely essential.

Already this evening a multi-vehicle collision has led to the A38 and A380 being closed again, while recovery teams clear up the debris. This has re-routed some of the gritting teams away from other routes nearby.

Unfortunately, efforts to clear some roads have been hampered by the number of abandoned vehicles, which have meant gritters and snow ploughs have been unable to get through.

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “There is still lots of slush on all of the roads, even the ones that have been cleared, and if this freezes overnight it will again become treacherous. There are forecasts of up to 5cm of snow overnight in some areas, accompanied by rain and ice, and this will clearly have an impact on the conditions of roads and pavements. Pedestrians also need to take extra care if venturing out, wear sturdy footwear, and please be aware of any traffic on the roads as they start to clear.

“When it is safe to do so, if people can recover their vehicles, or to try and move them if possible to a location where they’re not blocking the road or causing an obstruction, then that would help clearance efforts.

“We’d ask people to consider their journeys carefully over the weekend, but please be aware that our teams have been unable to get to roads to Dartmoor and Exmoor, and they are impassable.”

For safety reasons, snow clearance will stop overnight on all roads except the A39 to Lynton, but gritting will continue.

In Lynton, snow ploughs and snow blowers have been working all day on the A39, and have now cleared the road between Barnstaple and Parracombe

There is a significant amount of snow on the road including drifts of over 8ft, which, along with strong winds, has made progress very slow. Clearance work will continue overnight, but the road is not expected to be clear for some time.

This has obviously affected food supplies getting to the town, and reports are that some foods, particularly basics such as bread and milk, are in short supply.

Councillor Andrea Davis

Councillor Andrea Davis, County Councillor for Combe Martin Rural, said: “Highways teams are doing absolutely everything they can to clear the route to Lynton and will continue to do so. In the meantime we are asking the community to keep an eye on any vulnerable or elderly neighbours and check they are warm and well and have enough food.”

All communities affected by supplies are being urged to look out for the most vulnerable and elderly people, to make sure they are safe, warm and have plenty of food.

Over the weekend teams will start working on the minor roads and clearing routes to smaller communities.

People are also urged to avoid the temptation to drive to Dartmoor and Exmoor over the weekend.

Among the A roads which are not accessible are the A386 at Sourton Cross, as well as the A39 and A399 across Exmoor, where there are still significant amounts of snow.

The A379 Slapton Line at Torcross remains impassable due to damage from the high tides, and will remain closed.

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

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Environment