Suffolk/Essex: More snow forecast for today after first flurries cause road and rail disruption
- Credit: Archant
THE first heavy snow of 2013 caused disruption on roads and rail lines in Suffolk and Essex on Monday – and there could be more to come today.
The worst of the snow fell late Monday afternoon and into the evening, with some parts of Suffolk covered by up to 10cm. The west of the county, including Mildenhall and Newmarket, was particularly badly affected – although the blanket of snow continued spreading east throughout the night.
Rail commuters faced delays, with a string of cancellations on the Norwich to London line, while some roads became treacherous as the heaviest of the snow settled.
Police in both Suffolk and Essex said motorists should take extra care during their journeys today.
The major routes were gritted on Sunday night and again from noon yesterday. Teams were also on standby to continue the work into Monday night.
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A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said 45 gritters had been sent out to cover about 3,300km of Suffolk’s roads and ensure that a layer of salt was on the county’s routes ahead of any snow falling.
Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads, said: “I really can’t stress enough how important it is for those hoping to travel across the county to plan ahead and leave extra time for their journeys. It is imperative that motorists do all they can to regularly check the weather forecast, drive to the conditions and stay safe on the county’s roads.”
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Gritting teams have been put on 12-hour shifts for the next five days as forecasters predict more snow and low temperatures during the week. In Essex, 60 gritting lorries were treating roads across the county from noon in preparation for the change in weather. Motorists kept up to date with gritting routes online thanks to a live tracking system.
Each lorry is fitted with a GPS tracker which allows their movements to be tracked in real-time. Warnings from Essex County Council’s highways department and Essex Police were also issued early in the day so that residents could prepare for the heavy snowfall.
Derrick Louis, cabinet member for highways at the county council, said Essex Highways focused resources on keeping major roads clear and operated a specified salting network. It included all A and B roads, access routes for emergency services, rural link roads and major public transport routes.
Essex Police urged motorists to make sure their anti-freeze is topped up and their wiper blades working properly before setting off on car journeys. Chief Inspector Justin Smith said: “Hopefully the weather won’t be too bad this week but the advice is still to make sure your vehicle is winter-ready, give it a once over check and that you have plenty of fuel.
“Remember that the roads can be very icy and you need to drive cautiously, reducing your speed and allowing extra time to break.”
Rail commuters faced delays on Monday night after trains between London and Suffolk were cancelled.
Greater Anglia scrapped 17 services by mid-afternoon – and there was further disruption expected as the evening went on.
A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “In the event of adverse weather conditions we work closely with Network Rail to ensure we are able to provide our customers with the best possible service. As a result of the weather forecast and as a precaution, some of our trains were restricted to a 60mph speed limit.”
Stansted Airport reported very wintry conditions but were operating a full flight schedule. They advised travellers to allow extra time.
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