Durham County Council defends its gritting procedure after drivers stuck in traffic gridlock

%image(2256640, type="articleLandscape", alt="SNOW SUNRISE: A beautiful winter sunrise over Roseberry Topping, near Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, after the region woke to a blanket of snow") SNOW SUNRISE: A beautiful winter sunrise over Roseberry Topping, near Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, after the region woke to a blanket of snow

DURHAM County Council has rejected claims that it did not anticipate recent snowfalls as hundreds of commuters took hours to complete journeys that normally take minutes.

Many drivers found themselves stuck in nose-to-tail traffic on Wednesday evening as earlier snowfall led to traffic gridlock.

Bus services were also disrupted by the volume of vehicles which were moving at such a slow pace.

Durham County Council says its gritters were out salting priority roads, but despite this some drivers were not happy.

A number of people commented on The Northern Echo's website, www.thenorthernecho.co.uk.

One, known as Tompopper, wrote: “Ungritted roads, that was the problem. I was in it too and it was outrageous.

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

However, Terry Collins, Durham County Council's corporate director for neighbourhood services, defended the authority’s performance.

%image('2256631', type="articleLandscape", alt="FROZEN IN TIME: An abandoned van stuck in frozen flood water in Buttercrambe Road, Stamford Bridge, more than a week since the River Derwent burst its banks")

“The council was quick to respond to forecasts yesterday and all 38 gritters were out from 2pm treating our priority one network, which covers 45 per cent of the county’s highways," he said.  “In response to public feedback, Durham County Council has not cut its winter maintenance budget, and keeping the county’s strategic routes open remains a high priority.    

“I would like to encourage residents to help their local communities by using the stocks in the salt bins, which are regularly filled, and to make sure they are familiar with the priority routes, which are routinely treated during freezing temperatures at www.durham.gov.uk/winterroads.”   

Drivers faced delays again today (Thursday December 6) particularly during the morning rush-hour.

Temperatures dropped below zero overnight and ice was a big problem in many areas.

There was heavy traffic on routes, including the A1 Western Bypass, near Birtley, and around Durham City. Bus services across the county were also disrupted with some operating an amended route to avoid ice on some smaller roads and many suffering delays.

%image('2256636', type="articleLandscape", alt="SLIPPY: A tanker skidded off the road at Catterick Golf Club")

In North Yorkshire, a tanker crashed after skidding on ice while driving across a golf course.

The accident happened at Catterick Golf Club, on the outskirts of Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.

The male driver was unable to escape the cab because of the angle the vehicle was at.

Firefighters lowered a ladder which he used to climb out. The driver was uninjured.

It is understood the vehicle was delivering gas to a farm on the course when the accident happened.

Police were called and a cordon was placed around the scene, although it is not believed there was a leak from the tanker.

 

Comments (16)

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6:19pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Mr A says...

If everything is as good as Mr Collis suggests can he explain why there were so many delays on Wednesday please.

Why were we all were sat for hours in our cars trying to get home?

Why was Durham at gridlock can anyone explain ?

DCC like to tell us what happened?
If everything is as good as Mr Collis suggests can he explain why there were so many delays on Wednesday please. Why were we all were sat for hours in our cars trying to get home? Why was Durham at gridlock can anyone explain ? DCC like to tell us what happened? Mr A
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Thu 6 Dec 12

ozzy2011 says...

its also difficult to use the salt boxes when all the salt is being taken by selfish people going around in a 4x4 and a van emptying the bins!
its also difficult to use the salt boxes when all the salt is being taken by selfish people going around in a 4x4 and a van emptying the bins! ozzy2011
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Thu 6 Dec 12

ozzy2011 says...

also the gritter was seen going through a village at 6 this morning not even spreading grit, whats that all about?
also the gritter was seen going through a village at 6 this morning not even spreading grit, whats that all about? ozzy2011
  • Score: 0

6:40pm Thu 6 Dec 12

paul1963 says...

you think you have it bad
try driving through Darlo its gridlocked everyday and thats without any bad weather
you think you have it bad try driving through Darlo its gridlocked everyday and thats without any bad weather paul1963
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Snecklifter says...

Someone at the council needs to to taken to account for the debacle on the road on Wednesday night, 2 hours it took me to get from Drum Industrial Estate roudabout to Perkinsville roudabout, and you can see one from the other!
Someone at the council needs to to taken to account for the debacle on the road on Wednesday night, 2 hours it took me to get from Drum Industrial Estate roudabout to Perkinsville roudabout, and you can see one from the other! Snecklifter
  • Score: 0

8:57pm Thu 6 Dec 12

sensible says...

Mr A wrote:
If everything is as good as Mr Collis suggests can he explain why there were so many delays on Wednesday please.

Why were we all were sat for hours in our cars trying to get home?

Why was Durham at gridlock can anyone explain ?

DCC like to tell us what happened?
Exactly! Why indeed?

It wasnt even as if there had been a lot of snow! Half an inch in Durham! Imagine how bad its going to be if this is Durhams response to just a few flurries!
[quote][p][bold]Mr A[/bold] wrote: If everything is as good as Mr Collis suggests can he explain why there were so many delays on Wednesday please. Why were we all were sat for hours in our cars trying to get home? Why was Durham at gridlock can anyone explain ? DCC like to tell us what happened?[/p][/quote]Exactly! Why indeed? It wasnt even as if there had been a lot of snow! Half an inch in Durham! Imagine how bad its going to be if this is Durhams response to just a few flurries! sensible
  • Score: 0

9:27pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Nicholas_Till says...

I waited from about 6 to 7.20 pm Wednesday for a 64 going in the Arnison Centre direction, at the foot of Claypath. None came, I gave up and walked. It might be better if they didn't go on putting hope-raising next bus arrival times up on the indicators, and just put "Service kaput for foreseeable future"...

Plenty of "Sorry not in service" buses running around, though.

Maybe the 64 just did the usual Arriva thing and spontaneously combusted on the road somewhere.
I waited from about 6 to 7.20 pm Wednesday for a 64 going in the Arnison Centre direction, at the foot of Claypath. None came, I gave up and walked. It might be better if they didn't go on putting hope-raising next bus arrival times up on the indicators, and just put "Service kaput for foreseeable future"... Plenty of "Sorry not in service" buses running around, though. Maybe the 64 just did the usual Arriva thing and spontaneously combusted on the road somewhere. Nicholas_Till
  • Score: 0

10:08pm Thu 6 Dec 12

5under1and says...

Bet most council workers got an early get away, if they even turned up.
Bet most council workers got an early get away, if they even turned up. 5under1and
  • Score: 0

7:31am 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
  • Score: 0

9:36am Fri 7 Dec 12

ST1100 says...

It makes you laugh when common sense goes out the window when you get a bit of snow and drivers look for anyone and everyone to blame.

People saying the roads should have been gritted at lunchtime ...... well from my work I was watching it snow quite a bit during the afternoon then people panicking and trying to get home early ..... gritting at lunchtime would have been a complete waste of time and would have been covered or washed away with the fresh snow fall.

Instead of panicking when the snow came people should have waited till it stopped then gave time for the gritters to get around the roads, as it was they panicked and blocked the roads for the gritters getting around. I saw drivers blocking roundabouts and driving across traffic lights "because they were on gren" but had nowhere to go so just sat there blocking the junctions.

I filled up with diesel, then went in to a Sainsbury's cafe with a coffee, cake and a magazine and waited for a couple of hours watching until the traffic started flowing again, made it home no problem.
It makes you laugh when common sense goes out the window when you get a bit of snow and drivers look for anyone and everyone to blame. People saying the roads should have been gritted at lunchtime ...... well from my work I was watching it snow quite a bit during the afternoon then people panicking and trying to get home early ..... gritting at lunchtime would have been a complete waste of time and would have been covered or washed away with the fresh snow fall. Instead of panicking when the snow came people should have waited till it stopped then gave time for the gritters to get around the roads, as it was they panicked and blocked the roads for the gritters getting around. I saw drivers blocking roundabouts and driving across traffic lights "because they were on gren" but had nowhere to go so just sat there blocking the junctions. I filled up with diesel, then went in to a Sainsbury's cafe with a coffee, cake and a magazine and waited for a couple of hours watching until the traffic started flowing again, made it home no problem. ST1100
  • Score: 0

12:05pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Little owl says...

I think that the motorist needs to learn how to drive in the snow and ice, cos dear god i have seen some loons on the road one flake of snow and its panic and chaos, having said that, the council are not getting away scott free, i would like to know why they were spreading salt in the rain by the time it freezes the salt has washed away and seeing Mr Collins on the telly well I hadnt realised that one of the goons was still alive.
I think that the motorist needs to learn how to drive in the snow and ice, cos dear god i have seen some loons on the road one flake of snow and its panic and chaos, having said that, the council are not getting away scott free, i would like to know why they were spreading salt in the rain by the time it freezes the salt has washed away and seeing Mr Collins on the telly well I hadnt realised that one of the goons was still alive. Little owl
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Fri 7 Dec 12

the-big-yin says...

Mr A wrote:
If everything is as good as Mr Collis suggests can he explain why there were so many delays on Wednesday please.

Why were we all were sat for hours in our cars trying to get home?

Why was Durham at gridlock can anyone explain ?

DCC like to tell us what happened?
TERRY COLLINS KNOWS NOWT ABOUT ANYTHING...WHY HE STILL HAS A JOB I DO NOT KNOW....
THE COUNCIL NEED TO SORT OUT THE PRIORITIES OR THE COUNTY...WHY ONLY GRIT 45% OF ROADS....MUPPETS....
[quote][p][bold]Mr A[/bold] wrote: If everything is as good as Mr Collis suggests can he explain why there were so many delays on Wednesday please. Why were we all were sat for hours in our cars trying to get home? Why was Durham at gridlock can anyone explain ? DCC like to tell us what happened?[/p][/quote]TERRY COLLINS KNOWS NOWT ABOUT ANYTHING...WHY HE STILL HAS A JOB I DO NOT KNOW.... THE COUNCIL NEED TO SORT OUT THE PRIORITIES OR THE COUNTY...WHY ONLY GRIT 45% OF ROADS....MUPPETS.... the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

1:49pm Fri 7 Dec 12

the-big-yin says...

neilt63 wrote:
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................

.
THATS TRUE..I DROVE PAST IT...BUT HAVE ALSO SEEN GRITTERS IN AND AROUND CROOK NOT EVEN LAYING ANY GRIT....ANY LOGIC OR WILL THERE BE ANOTHE REXCUSE SAYING THEY WERE TRAVELLING FROM 1 LOCATION TO ANOTHER.....
[quote][p][bold]neilt63[/bold] wrote: 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................ .[/p][/quote]THATS TRUE..I DROVE PAST IT...BUT HAVE ALSO SEEN GRITTERS IN AND AROUND CROOK NOT EVEN LAYING ANY GRIT....ANY LOGIC OR WILL THERE BE ANOTHE REXCUSE SAYING THEY WERE TRAVELLING FROM 1 LOCATION TO ANOTHER..... the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Fri 7 Dec 12

ceddesfeld says...

Never explain, never apologise - that's public sector practice.

Use your PR army to relentlessly push what you want to promote, and stifle dissent and debate, Soviet-style.

There will be a reason why they failed - again - but they won't be telling us what it was.

DCC has form on road gritting - remember the consecutive winters of 09/10 and 10/11 when they ran out of the stuff, because they'd been brainwashed into believing global warming hype?
Never explain, never apologise - that's public sector practice. Use your PR army to relentlessly push what you want to promote, and stifle dissent and debate, Soviet-style. There will be a reason why they failed - again - but they won't be telling us what it was. DCC has form on road gritting - remember the consecutive winters of 09/10 and 10/11 when they ran out of the stuff, because they'd been brainwashed into believing global warming hype? ceddesfeld
  • Score: 0

8:06pm Sat 8 Dec 12

loonyleft says...

The weather forcast for next week says it will be so cold that road salt will be inefective,so people will have to look to their own driving skills,instead of blaming the council like they do for every thing else.
The weather forcast for next week says it will be so cold that road salt will be inefective,so people will have to look to their own driving skills,instead of blaming the council like they do for every thing else. loonyleft
  • Score: 0

10:20am Mon 10 Dec 12

John Justice says...

Perhaps Mr Collins and his staff responsible for keeping our roads open during freezing conditions should get themselves seconded to the nordic countries and run their gritting schemes. I do not suppose the likes of Sweden, Norway and Finland become gridlocked at the first sign of snow and frost as County Durham does.Many Motorists however do not understand how to drive in freezing conditions and to drive defensively.
Perhaps Mr Collins and his staff responsible for keeping our roads open during freezing conditions should get themselves seconded to the nordic countries and run their gritting schemes. I do not suppose the likes of Sweden, Norway and Finland become gridlocked at the first sign of snow and frost as County Durham does.Many Motorists however do not understand how to drive in freezing conditions and to drive defensively. John Justice
  • Score: 0

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