Snowfall causes chaos

HAVOC caused by this week's snow has prompted an icy blast from road users angry about the way a few inches brought the network to a halt.Hauliers are fuming about the failure of many authorities across the country to anticipate the cold snap and grit roads – especially as the weather forecasters had been saying for nearly a week that the snow was on its way.

HAVOC caused by this week's snow has prompted an icy blast from road users angry about the way a few inches brought the network to a halt.

Hauliers are fuming about the failure of many authorities across the country to anticipate the cold snap and grit roads – especially as the weather forecasters had been saying for nearly a week that the snow was on its way.

Suffolk was one of the exceptions where snow ploughs and gritters were out and about ensuring that the main A14 and other roads would be kept open.

But in some places truckers working out of Felixstowe port or heading there to make deliveries found themselves stuck fast in the snow, forced to wait hours in traffic queues, some having to sleep in their cabs overnight or leave them by the roadside and find accommodation in village pubs and hotels.


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Felixstowe haulier Ralph Morton said one of his drivers had left at 2.30pm Thursday to go to Manchester, had got stuck at Cambridge, where he remained all night until he could turn round and come back.

"He never made it past Cambridge, and that's been the same for several of our drivers, stuck all over the place. It's ridiculous," said Mr Morton, owner of Ralph Morton Transport.

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"I have 37 of them who have not done anything today. Those that were stuck have come back and there is no point in sending them out again – because they won't get where they need to and I would rather know that they are safe.

"This sort of situation though costs us an absolute fortune because we cannot run our business. I just cannot understand why it happens every time we get two or three inches of snow."

Even Transport Secretary Alistair Darling – the man in charge of Britain's roads – seemed perplexed as he demanded to know how the road and rail network had become paralysed due to the weather.

He has asked the authorities for an immediate explanation, saying "Snowfall in January is hardly unexpected."

A spokesman for the Highways Agency, which is responsible for gritting the trunk roads, said gritters had been out in force on all major routes in East Anglia from Thursday afternoon.

There had been problems around Cambridge though after gritters were unable to get through the exceptionally heavy traffic to salt the A14.

WEBLINKS: www.highways.gov.uk

www.dft.gov.uk

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