Cold snap hits East Devon

Motorists warned of icy conditions across the county

THE Met Office has issued a warning of wintry showers of rain, sleet and snow across Devon this weekend. The cold snap has raised concerns at the risk of icy patches on roads and motorists are being asked to take extreme care when travelling in the county, as ice can form even on treated roads.

Devon County Council’s fleet of gritters were out in force across Devon yesterday afternoon, treating around 1,700 miles on all of the county’s 48 salting routes.

They returned to most routes between 3am and 4am and will carry out further inspections this morning.

The Highways Agency’s fleet of gritters has also been out treating 170 miles of the strategic road network in the county and is on stand-by to carry out additional runs when needed. The Agency also has snow ploughs ready to deal with any significant accumulations.

Devon County Council has been liaising with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Highways Agency over the potential of putting their joint Haldon Response Plan into effect. Should the need arise, spotters will initially be deployed to monitor road and weather conditions before a Forward Command Point is established to decide what action, if any, is needed to keep traffic flowing on Haldon and Telegraph Hills.

Schools across the county have also been alerted to the possibility of snow next week.

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Sidmouth/Sidford County Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “This is the first real threat of snow that we have had this winter and we are as prepared as we can be. Salt barns are full to the brim with 25,000 tonnes of salt and we are as committed as ever to keep Devon moving.

“The forecast for snow is earlier than in the past couple of years, and there is a chance of disruption in the county over the next seven days. I’m sure we have all learnt lessons from the last two harsh winters and I trust that people across Devon are prepared for bad weather and take adequate precautions.”

Motorists are being reminded of the following advice:

* Avoid overnight travel unless absolutely essential as roads will always be more hazardous at night with less traffic and colder temperatures;

* Never assume a road has been salted. Remember that showers or rain will wash salt off roads leaving them prone to ice, and in extreme cold even salting will not stop ice from forming;

* Allow additional time for your journey and reduce your speed;

* Drive with care and according to the conditions;

* If you have vulnerable or elderly neighbours, think about how they could possibly be helped through the cold spell;

* Listen to local radio for updates on current weather conditions.

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