Commuters warned to expect travel chaos

HEAVY snow caused major problems on Suffolk's roads last night - with rail routes expected to be badly hit today.

Anthony Bond

HEAVY snow caused major problems on Suffolk's roads last night - with rail routes expected to be badly hit today.

Motorists travelling on the A14 and A12 endured a frustrating night as snow fall resulted in a series of minor accidents and congestion.

The A14 over the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich was badly affected at around 11pm because of heavy snow fall in a short space of time.

A series of minor accidents also resulted in congestion on the A12 near Capel St Mary in both directions late last night.

Rail commuters are also expected to face a frustrating day after National Express East Anglia last night warned that some trains between London Liverpool Street and East Anglia would not run today because of the conditions.

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Suffolk County Council said 38 gritters would be working throughout the night to grit all A and B roads - which is 29% of the road network. Roads which provide routes into main villages were also gritted, as well as regular bus routes and roads proving access to most schools.

At the time of going to press, no schools had announced that they would be closed today, but Suffolk County Council has urged people to visit its website for information. You can also find out the latest news on school closures by visiting www.eadt.co.uk.

Last night, Chris Bell, a forecaster with Weatherquest, warned of problems on the county's roads this morning. “We are going to have snow showers continuing overnight and it is possible that they could continue through into tomorrow morning as well.

“It will be a fairly snowy period until about midday tomorrow. There could be quite widespread accumulation across the whole county, just about anywhere has got a chance of snow.

“I would imagine that there would be some road problems in the morning as well.”

The poor weather conditions resulted in the Port of Felixstowe closing yesterday afternoon with 'Operation Stack' going into operation, where lorries park up on the old A45 at Levington.

Last night, Inspector Adrian Calton, of Suffolk Constabulary said he had received more than fifty calls in a two-hour period which were all weather related. “There have been various things across the county, mainly road accidents and children throwing snow balls at houses,” he said. “It is busier than usual but obviously it is because of the weather.”

Inspector Vince Osborne, of Essex Police, said there had been a few minor accidents but nothing serious. He said the force was not experiencing a great deal more calls than usual.

Suffolk Constabulary also warned drivers to drive to the conditions with their lights on and to proceed with care at all times.

The appalling weather also meant many people were unable to reach Snape Maltings where the Ipswich-based Co-op Juniors Theatre Company was holding the first night of its Christmas Spectacular.

The show started on time, although some of the cast had been stuck in the snow, and many of the seats were empty as people travelling long distances had been forced to turn back.

Suffolk County Council warned people to keep an eye out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

Councillor Colin Noble, portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: “We would urge anyone with elderly relatives, friends or neighbours to look out for them, help out with small jobs if you can and make sure they are not lonely.”