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Motorists left fuming as snow causes hours of delays on A66
1:08pm Monday 18th March 2013 in News
MOTORISTS were left fuming when they became stuck in 15-mile tailbacks after a few inches of snow fell this morning.
The A66 Transpennine route - which crosses the Cumbria to County Durham border - ground to a halt from around 4.30am when heavy snow began falling.
Motorists faced mammoth delays and were left crawling along the route for up to five hours as they waited for it to reopen.
Disruption began when a lorry lost traction in wintry weather and became stuck on the route.
Around five to six inches of snow covered the ground, and the road was closed in both directions between Stainmore and Barnard Castle as snow ploughs cleared and treated the road.
Steve Blakey, who was driving a car transporter along the A66 this morning, said: "You couldn't get up the bank.
"I didn't know it was going to snow, last night it rained, but I ended up stuck from 4.30am this morning.
"I was stuck for about two hours in on the opposite lane, reached the snow gates and turned round, but I got stuck for about five hours in total.
"One of my friends was in a lorry in the same traffic jam in Stainmore and I was caught up around Bowes, he was about ten miles away and I know the tailbacks go at least 15 miles.
"I had no information about what was happening.
"I was wrapped up in my coat and I had my night heater on in my cab, and I watched a DVD when we were stood still.
Motorists faced confusion when Durham Police said both carriageways were re-opened by 9am, but drivers were still left stuck and some reported the snow gates on the A66 were closed again at 9.30am.
David Exeter said: "Reports from (the) Highways Agency and police do not match the reality of those stuck in traffic."
Greg Barton tweeted: "The way this country deals with snow is a joke. Stuck on closed A66 because of a couple of inches of snow #uksnow"
A Highways Agency spokesman said the road had been thoroughly treated prior to the snowfall.
The spokesman said: "The road was gritted, we knew there was a severe weather warning, so the road was treated at midnight and at 6am.
"In addition there were two crews patrolling and treating the roads.
"The slush was a problem more than ice or snow and the problems began when a lorry lost traction and became stuck and other lorries became stuck behind it.
"The incident was all over by around 9am - police closed one of the carriageways again to allow for the stuck lorry to be removed.
"There were warnings out, the closure was signposted on the A1(M) and M6 and there were warnings on radio stations."
The road was fully reopened before 10am this morning.
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