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Teams work throughout the night to keep county moving
HIGHWAYS teams have been working throughout the night to ensure major roads are passable, as snow continues to hit most parts of the county.
The latest Met Office forecast predicts that Gloucestershire will continue to be affected by bad weather today, following a persistent band of snow which moved from the south-west early this morning.
With brisk winds continuing, drifting snow is still likely, especially on higher ground, which may mean drivers experience much deeper snow than they might have anticipated.
Meanwhile a number of roads in the Cotswolds and the Forrest of Dean have been affected, and motorists are being urged to avoid them if possible.
Police closure are currently in place at the following locations: • A419 Cowcombe Hill • A419 Little Witcombe (Birdlip) • A48 Arlington • A435 Cirencester to Cheltenham • A435 Charlton Kings to Seven Springs • Unclassified Road - Toadsmoor Hill, Brimscombe • Unclassified Road - Nailsworth to Minchampton • Parliament Street, Stroud
There are also hazardous conditions on some roads and drivers are advised to avoid these areas: • A4151 Littledean, Cinderford • A429 Fossebridge • A436 Birdlip to Seven Springs • A417 Birdlip Hill • B4362 Cleeve Hill However, with the current conditions, Gloucestershire Highways would advise that any high level routes across the county and any routes with steeper inclines will be hazardous for some time and should only be attempted with extreme care.
Travel advice for Gloucestershire is only to make journeys if they are absolutely necessary.
As always in times of severe weather, the county council gritters have been out regularly in the past few days, treating all A, B and some C roads, as well as routes to emergency services, from fire stations to hospitals.
Secondary routes, including remaining bus routes, have also been tackled.
Gritting runs have been ongoing on the county’s main routes since midnight, with teams currently working a shift pattern to allow for full 24-hour operations.
The teams will continue gritting and ploughing the network throughout today and will reassess operations as the weather forecasts are updated.
In addition, dozens of the county’s parish plough operators have also been mobilised to help tackle the conditions across rural communities.
The council will continue to monitor conditions around the clock this weekend, ensuring people can travel as safely as possible across the county.
But drivers are asked to take extra care and think about their journeys before setting off.
Jason Humm, Area Highways Manager, said: “We are working hard to keep the county moving, but the advice is not to start a journey unless it is absolutely necessary.
“Teams will be out 24 hours a day over the weekend, treating the major roads in the county. However, parts of the network could be very icy and extreme caution is needed.”
We have more than 100 salt hand-spreaders and 5,500 bags of salt out in the communities to keep grit bins filled.
Grit bins are provided in rural or problem areas, like steep hills or bends, for local people to treat the roads and pavements themselves – this salt is for highways and not for private use.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue crews will continue to be on standby throughout the weekend, with 4x4 emergency response vehicles ready to react.
Meanwhile, the county council is working with district councils, which are open for business as usual.
However, residents are reminded that some services in the county will be carried out by a reduced number of staff.
More than 300 schools in the county are closed because of the severe weather. For the latest information, visit gloucestershire.gov.uk/closedschools.
Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: “Just because the weather is severe it doesn’t mean that the county has come to a halt.
"All services are working hard to make sure residents are safe and that communities are kept informed.
“It is important that residents look out for each other during this period of wintry weather and that drivers only take to the roads if they really have to.”
With the chance of ice on county pavements as well as roads, residents, particularly the vulnerable, are urged to take extra care when travelling and encouraged to stay at home if possible.
Follow @GlosHighways, @GlosCC, @GlosFire and @Glos_Police on Twitter for updates. Tips on driving in icy conditions can be found at gloucestershire.gov.uk/winter. Traffic information can also be found on the Highways Agency website highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/.
For the latest Met Office updates, visit metoffice.gov.uk.