Work to get roads open set to continue into the weekend
02 March 2018
Having worked around the clock since Wednesday morning, Norfolk County Council’s highways staff and farmers with snowploughs will be out again tomorrow clearing snow and trying to make Norfolk's roads safe to use.
The council’s 49 gritter trucks, with ploughs fitted, have been out all day again today and working with more than 60 local farmers and a number of excavators to clear snowdrifts, help motorists stuck in the snow and trying to make roads safe to use.
Strong winds blowing snow back onto the roads have made this work extremely difficult, and some roads have been cleared repeatedly. The A140 south of Norwich has been particularly badly affected despite the efforts of a farmer with a plough and an excavator which have been stationed on the road all day.
Road conditions have improved a little throughout the day, with nearly all A and B roads in the west, north and east of the county and in Norwich cleared of snowdrifts and open to traffic. However conditions on several major roads in south Norfolk and many minor roads throughout Norfolk remain very difficult and some are impassable.
Further snow showers are expected this evening and overnight in Norfolk, with up to six centimetres of snow due to fall in the west of the county and everywhere likely to see some fresh snow. Ice is likely to be a problem too, with another cold night in store. Gritters with snowploughs went out countywide at 3pm and are likely to reload and go out again this evening. Further gritting and ploughing runs are planned from 1am, and farmers and excavators will join them again from early tomorrow morning.
Nick Tupper, Norfolk County Council's Assistant Director for Highways, said: “This has been a great team effort and it’s not over yet. Hundreds of our highways staff, our network of farmers and our sub-contractors have worked tremendously hard over the last few days in really testing conditions. Thank you to all of them for going the extra mile to clear roads and help members of the public in difficulty.
“While travel conditions have improved a little since this morning, we know there are still some roads in Norfolk that are blocked, particularly in rural areas. We have had to focus the majority of our efforts so far on getting and keeping main roads clear, not only because they are well-used routes but because we need these roads open in order to allow us and emergency vehicles to get around the county.
“Depending on what the conditions are like tomorrow, we may be able to get ploughs out on some of the minor roads. However we could have some more snow overnight tonight so it’s hard to say with any certainty what we’ll be faced with. Whatever the weather, we’ll continue to try our best to get roads open as quickly as we can.”
The forecast suggests temperatures should start to rise again this weekend, particularly on Sunday, and melting snow is likely to mean there will be standing water on many of the county’s roads. People are advised therefore to still approach making journeys with caution and to drive to the conditions.
From next week, Norfolk County Council will be sending out highways teams to refill the 1,800 grit bins that are positioned around the county for people to use. The bins were filled in mid-February but the very cold weather has meant the council is receiving reports that many of the bins are running low already or are empty. With so many grit bins to fill, it will take up to three weeks for the council to get around to all locations. People are reminded that the salt in these bins is for use on public pavements, cycle paths and roads only, and bags of salt are available to buy in hardware stores for use on private property.
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 lots more information about keeping safe and well in winter weather and for updates on any service disruptions, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/norfolkwinter.