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Gritters set to work into the night to improve the treacherous road conditions

PUBLISHED: 19:56 01 March 2018

Gritters are set to work into the night on the county's roads.
Photo: Emma Knights

Gritters are set to work into the night on the county's roads. Photo: Emma Knights

Emma Knights

An army of gritter lorries and tractors have been working throughout the the day to clear the snow from the county’s roads - and work is set to continue into the night as the treacherous conditions caused by the Beast from the East continue.

Travel conditions in the county look set to remain very difficult into Friday, despite the best efforts of Norfolk County Council’s highways teams and local farmers.

More than 100 gritter lorries and tractors have been attempting to clear snow from the county’s roads using snowploughs all day, and the council has also been using excavators to try to remove snow.

However strong winds are blowing snow back onto the carriageway, particularly in rural areas, causing snow drifts and making some roads unpassable.

With another cold and windy night and day tomorrow predicted and further snow showers possible, conditions are unlikely to improve significantly by tomorrow morning.

Nick Tupper, Norfolk County Council’s assistant director for highways, said: “We’ve had over 100 members of staff in our highways team working alternating 12 hour shifts to try to make roads passable, with tremendous help from our network of farmers with snow ploughs. It’s been a real battle though due to the wind, and further complicated by vehicles that have become stuck or abandoned in snow drifts.

“So despite a massive effort from these teams, conditions on many roads are still very difficult and the advice must therefore remain the same as it has been since Wednesday morning – only make a journey if it is absolutely essential and please don’t try to drive through piled up snow or drifts.”

Gritters with snowploughs attached went out again at 3pm and are likely to be working through the evening.

Further gritting and ploughing is planned in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

Farmers with ploughs and excavators have been assisting highways teams on major roads today (largely A and B class roads) to try to keep these clear, it is hoped they will be able to move onto clearing minor routes tomorrow.

Crews from Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service have dealt with more than 30 calls from other agencies since last night, asking for assistance in the current treacherous weather conditions across Norfolk.

The calls from police and ambulance crews come in addition to their usual workload. Incidents include assisting stranded drivers throughout the county and treating emergency patients where ambulance crews are struggling to get to them. The fire service has been using specialist vehicles, including their 4x4 rural appliances.

Paul Seaman, duty group manager, said: “It’s vitally important that when faced with such unprecedented weather all agencies come together. I’m confident that we will continue to be able to offer assistance to colleagues and also manage our day to day business.

“All of our non-operational staff have been asked to remote work until the end of the week. Many of our staff have shown great resolve and in some cases worked continuously as a result of not being able to make it home. NFRS will continue to operate our resilience plans until at least Saturday.

“We would urge motorists to heed the current police advice and only travel is if absolutely necessary.”

The weather forecast suggests there could be some snow showers this afternoon and this evening, more particularly in the west of the county. Further snow showers are also possible tomorrow, with the possibility of more persistent snow later on Friday and overnight.

At the moment, the temperature is expected to become a little less cold on Sunday.

People can check which roads are on the council’s gritting routes for the 2017/18 season by looking at the map at www.norfolk.gov.uk/gritting

For more information about keeping safe and well in winter weather and for updates on any service disruptions, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/norfolkwinter

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