Council admits it failed to grit roads

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a failure to grit roads across north Essex led to black ice, frozen snow and treacherous conditions for drivers yesterday.

Roddy Ashworth

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a failure to grit roads across north Essex led to black ice, frozen snow and treacherous conditions for drivers yesterday.

Scores of crashes and shunts affected New Year journeys after road chiefs decided not to order a 3am gritting run - despite the fact that salting teams were standing by to go ahead.

Yesterday Paul Bird, the director of highways and transportation at Essex County Council, issued an unreserved apology for the state of the roads.


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He told the EADT he had ordered an investigation into why localised snowfall and a drop in temperature in the Colchester and Tendring areas had not been anticipated and dealt with.

Meanwhile drivers told of their fear and disgust at the state of both A and B roads, with one branding them as “like an ice rink” and an “absolute disgrace.”

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Another said the state of the roads had “frightened the life” out of her on her way to work while one motorist said the frozen-over entrance to Connaught Avenue in Frinton was like a “sheet of glass”.

A spokesman for Stanway Traffic Police, which patrols roads in the area, said: “I have never seen anything like it here. The other Thursday was quite bad because of the snow, but this black ice is invisible.

“Everyone knew this weather was coming, it was widely forecast. All of the major roads and bus routes should have been gritted but we have seen no evidence of it.”

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