Gridlock on County Durham roads as hundreds stranded by the snow

The Northern Echo: Stranded motorists on the A169 high up on the North York Moors near Goathland, North Yorkshire Stranded motorists on the A169 high up on the North York Moors near Goathland, North Yorkshire

HUNDREDS of drivers are still making their way home this evening as the wintry weather brings traffic chaos to the North-East.

Throughout County Durham there are reports of nose to tail traffic, with journeys of a few minutes taking several hours.

Northern Echo chief reporter Tony Kearney made it  to his home 15 miles from his office in Durham at 10.30pm.

"It is absolutely unbelievable. It took me three-and-a-half hours to cross Durham city," he said.

"It is absolutely nose to tail. It was about an hour a mile. The weather is fine, there seems to be no weather reason for it. We have had about a centimetre of snow and that's about it.

"I heard on the radio tales of woe from Tyneside, Chester-le-Street, Peterlee. Everywhere just seems to be at total gridlock."

His Northern Echo colleague, Gavin Engelbrecht, suffered similarly.

He left the office to travel to the Sage in Gateshead for a classical concert, but arrived too late after it took two hours to complete the trip.

He fared no better on the journey back to his home.

"Every road seems to be blocked off," he said after reaching the ironically named Sunniside. "The road past Lobley Hill is closed, so I came through Whickham. The road to Burnopfield they say you can't get through. I have now doubled back to Sunniside and it's just gridlock. There are no cars moving, there are hundreds and hundreds on the road and lining the side.

"I am about an hour's walk from home. I have got my suit on, I wasn't expecting this."

Let us know your experiences of the journey home. Email comments and pictures to newsdesk@nne.co.uk

Comments (17)

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12:09am Thu 6 Dec 12

tomtopper says...

Ungritted roads, that was the problem..I was in it too and it was outrageous

Typical lazy council.. If the roads has been gritted at midday, there wouldn't have been a problem at all, but no..

Wait until the 30'000 houses go up, an extra 60'000 cars thrown into problems such as this...

DCC.. what an absolute joke
Ungritted roads, that was the problem..I was in it too and it was outrageous Typical lazy council.. If the roads has been gritted at midday, there wouldn't have been a problem at all, but no.. Wait until the 30'000 houses go up, an extra 60'000 cars thrown into problems such as this... DCC.. what an absolute joke tomtopper

12:34am Thu 6 Dec 12

Ferryhill_1 says...

that was maybe the problem on main roads. Went all the way up to alston this morning gritters out there roads well gritted all the way up from durham. People dont help themselves. But on local roads why dont people help each other get a spade and spread your own grit on the road outside your house and help others?? Every year i see people raiding grit bins for there own drive and nothing else
that was maybe the problem on main roads. Went all the way up to alston this morning gritters out there roads well gritted all the way up from durham. People dont help themselves. But on local roads why dont people help each other get a spade and spread your own grit on the road outside your house and help others?? Every year i see people raiding grit bins for there own drive and nothing else Ferryhill_1

8:23am Thu 6 Dec 12

billburn says...

I left Bowburn at 4.00pm and did not arrive at Durham hospital till 17.45 nearly two hours to drive 3 miles and there was no problems with the roads they were wet with no sign of ice.
I left Bowburn at 4.00pm and did not arrive at Durham hospital till 17.45 nearly two hours to drive 3 miles and there was no problems with the roads they were wet with no sign of ice. billburn

8:31am Thu 6 Dec 12

sherburn says...

Its Like County Council said in there magazine they are ready for winter this year haha
Its Like County Council said in there magazine they are ready for winter this year haha sherburn

9:50am Thu 6 Dec 12

glyn says...

Northern Echo chief reporter Tony Kearney made it to his home 15 miles from his office in Durham at 10.30pm.

"It is absolutely unbelievable. It took me three-and-a-half hours to cross Durham city," he said.

"It is absolutely nose to tail. It was about an hour a mile.


Educated people up there. It works out to just over 4 miles an hour.
At 1 mile an hour, it would have taken 15 hours
Northern Echo chief reporter Tony Kearney made it to his home 15 miles from his office in Durham at 10.30pm. "It is absolutely unbelievable. It took me three-and-a-half hours to cross Durham city," he said. "It is absolutely nose to tail. It was about an hour a mile. Educated people up there. It works out to just over 4 miles an hour. At 1 mile an hour, it would have taken 15 hours glyn

10:11am Thu 6 Dec 12

David Lacey says...

Try reading his message again. It makes perfect sense. Unlike you.
Try reading his message again. It makes perfect sense. Unlike you. David Lacey

10:27am Thu 6 Dec 12

mcjordiuk says...

David Lacey wrote:
Try reading his message again. It makes perfect sense. Unlike you.
yep and to to me David..
[quote][p][bold]David Lacey[/bold] wrote: Try reading his message again. It makes perfect sense. Unlike you.[/p][/quote]yep and to to me David.. mcjordiuk

10:45am Thu 6 Dec 12

Northern Paramedic says...

Durham are known for not gritting their roads. You only have to drive down the A19 between Sunderland and Cleveland to see that the Durham section of road is usually covered in ice when the other counties have gritted theirs.

Are the councillors interested? No.
But if they needed an ambulance they will be wondering why it takes twice as long for onw to reach them!
Durham are known for not gritting their roads. You only have to drive down the A19 between Sunderland and Cleveland to see that the Durham section of road is usually covered in ice when the other counties have gritted theirs. Are the councillors interested? No. But if they needed an ambulance they will be wondering why it takes twice as long for onw to reach them! Northern Paramedic

10:46am Thu 6 Dec 12

ST1100 says...

Gavin said "I have got my suit on, I wasn't expecting this".

Well sorry Gavin, it was forecast, even by your own paper. The old Scout motto of "being prepared" is very apt, we used to drive though snow falls 12" of more carrying a shovel, bags of grit, warm clothing and sleeping bag or blankets in the back of the car.

All it takes is rain or snow after the Council has gritted and all the work they have done is rendered useless and has to be done again ..... then they are stuck in the same traffic jams that you are in.
Gavin said "I have got my suit on, I wasn't expecting this". Well sorry Gavin, it was forecast, even by your own paper. The old Scout motto of "being prepared" is very apt, we used to drive though snow falls 12" of more carrying a shovel, bags of grit, warm clothing and sleeping bag or blankets in the back of the car. All it takes is rain or snow after the Council has gritted and all the work they have done is rendered useless and has to be done again ..... then they are stuck in the same traffic jams that you are in. ST1100

10:59am Thu 6 Dec 12

ST1100 says...

Northern Paramedic wrote:
Durham are known for not gritting their roads. You only have to drive down the A19 between Sunderland and Cleveland to see that the Durham section of road is usually covered in ice when the other counties have gritted theirs.

Are the councillors interested? No.
But if they needed an ambulance they will be wondering why it takes twice as long for onw to reach them!
The A19 is not done by Durham Council, nor Sunderland or Cleveland, it is all done by Autolink with the A1/A1M being the responsibility of the Highways Agency.
[quote][p][bold]Northern Paramedic[/bold] wrote: Durham are known for not gritting their roads. You only have to drive down the A19 between Sunderland and Cleveland to see that the Durham section of road is usually covered in ice when the other counties have gritted theirs. Are the councillors interested? No. But if they needed an ambulance they will be wondering why it takes twice as long for onw to reach them![/p][/quote]The A19 is not done by Durham Council, nor Sunderland or Cleveland, it is all done by Autolink with the A1/A1M being the responsibility of the Highways Agency. ST1100

12:11pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Lyzarcher says...

Last night's problems were caused by the car drivers. It took me 45 minutes to travel on the bus from Dryburn Hospital to the Pity Me roundabout caused because the roundabout at Dryburn Road was gridlocked by car drivers, driving on to the roundabout even though there was no exit, therefore other traffic was unable to get on to the roundabout. Once on the dual carriageway the traffic was moving as usual.
Last night's problems were caused by the car drivers. It took me 45 minutes to travel on the bus from Dryburn Hospital to the Pity Me roundabout caused because the roundabout at Dryburn Road was gridlocked by car drivers, driving on to the roundabout even though there was no exit, therefore other traffic was unable to get on to the roundabout. Once on the dual carriageway the traffic was moving as usual. Lyzarcher

12:52pm Thu 6 Dec 12

loan_star says...

Lyzarcher wrote:
Last night's problems were caused by the car drivers. It took me 45 minutes to travel on the bus from Dryburn Hospital to the Pity Me roundabout caused because the roundabout at Dryburn Road was gridlocked by car drivers, driving on to the roundabout even though there was no exit, therefore other traffic was unable to get on to the roundabout. Once on the dual carriageway the traffic was moving as usual.
Thats a major gripe I have with drivers, they cant go anywhere and yet block off a junction to stop other people continuing their journey. Almost as bad as people who dont indicate and cyclists who ignore red lights.
[quote][p][bold]Lyzarcher[/bold] wrote: Last night's problems were caused by the car drivers. It took me 45 minutes to travel on the bus from Dryburn Hospital to the Pity Me roundabout caused because the roundabout at Dryburn Road was gridlocked by car drivers, driving on to the roundabout even though there was no exit, therefore other traffic was unable to get on to the roundabout. Once on the dual carriageway the traffic was moving as usual.[/p][/quote]Thats a major gripe I have with drivers, they cant go anywhere and yet block off a junction to stop other people continuing their journey. Almost as bad as people who dont indicate and cyclists who ignore red lights. loan_star

1:57pm Thu 6 Dec 12

the-big-yin says...

Northern Paramedic wrote:
Durham are known for not gritting their roads. You only have to drive down the A19 between Sunderland and Cleveland to see that the Durham section of road is usually covered in ice when the other counties have gritted theirs.

Are the councillors interested? No.
But if they needed an ambulance they will be wondering why it takes twice as long for onw to reach them!
Well said.....this so called super council D.c.c. are useless.....they knew that the weather was going to turn, so why did they not grit the roads? i-ll tell you....
so that they can pay the workers overtime on a night to grit the roads....i have friends who work on the highways and they tell me that D.c.c. managers would not take them off their day work to grit the roads....How many millions of pounds were lost yesterday due to the incompetence of D.c.c......the forecast for today is the same as yesterday...has anyone seen a gritter today?
[quote][p][bold]Northern Paramedic[/bold] wrote: Durham are known for not gritting their roads. You only have to drive down the A19 between Sunderland and Cleveland to see that the Durham section of road is usually covered in ice when the other counties have gritted theirs. Are the councillors interested? No. But if they needed an ambulance they will be wondering why it takes twice as long for onw to reach them![/p][/quote]Well said.....this so called super council D.c.c. are useless.....they knew that the weather was going to turn, so why did they not grit the roads? i-ll tell you.... so that they can pay the workers overtime on a night to grit the roads....i have friends who work on the highways and they tell me that D.c.c. managers would not take them off their day work to grit the roads....How many millions of pounds were lost yesterday due to the incompetence of D.c.c......the forecast for today is the same as yesterday...has anyone seen a gritter today? the-big-yin

5:14pm Thu 6 Dec 12

That'sLife says...

It just needs a drop of snow in Durham City and surrounding areas for everyone to decide they are all going home at the same time. It's been like this ever since I can remember. Took me 3 hours to get home from the Arnison Centre Wednesday evening and everyone panics in case they can't get home. No problem if it falls outside rush hour, either morning or evening, but with Passport Centre on flexi etc they have every right to go home as and when. Nowt to do with gritted roads.
It just needs a drop of snow in Durham City and surrounding areas for everyone to decide they are all going home at the same time. It's been like this ever since I can remember. Took me 3 hours to get home from the Arnison Centre Wednesday evening and everyone panics in case they can't get home. No problem if it falls outside rush hour, either morning or evening, but with Passport Centre on flexi etc they have every right to go home as and when. Nowt to do with gritted roads. That'sLife

7:57pm Thu 6 Dec 12

tomtopper says...

Lyzarcher wrote:
Last night's problems were caused by the car drivers. It took me 45 minutes to travel on the bus from Dryburn Hospital to the Pity Me roundabout caused because the roundabout at Dryburn Road was gridlocked by car drivers, driving on to the roundabout even though there was no exit, therefore other traffic was unable to get on to the roundabout. Once on the dual carriageway the traffic was moving as usual.
The problem was a lack of gritted roads.. and ice patchs including black ice, causing drivers, who've never driven in adverse weather to either become stuck or reduce themselves to driving at walking pace.. combined with rush hour= disaster.. DCC should have extensively grit the roads in advance and they didn't.. period.
[quote][p][bold]Lyzarcher[/bold] wrote: Last night's problems were caused by the car drivers. It took me 45 minutes to travel on the bus from Dryburn Hospital to the Pity Me roundabout caused because the roundabout at Dryburn Road was gridlocked by car drivers, driving on to the roundabout even though there was no exit, therefore other traffic was unable to get on to the roundabout. Once on the dual carriageway the traffic was moving as usual.[/p][/quote]The problem was a lack of gritted roads.. and ice patchs including black ice, causing drivers, who've never driven in adverse weather to either become stuck or reduce themselves to driving at walking pace.. combined with rush hour= disaster.. DCC should have extensively grit the roads in advance and they didn't.. period. tomtopper

1:24am Fri 7 Dec 12

Browsing says...

Clearly from all the different theories above, there is no one reason why we end up with traffic chaos following a fall of snow. Probably it is a combination of all of the above. The forming of ice and the fall of snow makes everyone set off from work/school etc. en masse which slows the vehicles, which in turn slows the gritters, which slows the cars further who then clog up the junctions, which stops the gritters moving and so on. Perhaps at the time of snowfall we should all stay off the roads until the gritters can sort the problem.
Clearly from all the different theories above, there is no one reason why we end up with traffic chaos following a fall of snow. Probably it is a combination of all of the above. The forming of ice and the fall of snow makes everyone set off from work/school etc. en masse which slows the vehicles, which in turn slows the gritters, which slows the cars further who then clog up the junctions, which stops the gritters moving and so on. Perhaps at the time of snowfall we should all stay off the roads until the gritters can sort the problem. Browsing

7:32am Fri 7 Dec 12

neilt63 says...

DCC did indeed have gritters and snow ploughs on the road early in the morning, local residents were woken by the sound of the snow plough clearing the Council Car Park in Crook ! As for the rest of the town................
.
DCC did indeed have gritters and snow ploughs on the road early in the morning, local residents were woken by the sound of the snow plough clearing the Council Car Park in Crook ! As for the rest of the town................ . neilt63

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