Update at 10.10pm: Keep up to date here with the problems caused by the snow on Norfolk’s roads
PUBLISHED: 19:14 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:09 15 January 2013
Two road closures are in place tonight following crashes involving lorries in Norfolk.
The A148 at Tattersett, near Fakenham, has been closed since 5pm as a result of a jackknifed lorry and the A143 at Harleston is also closed because of a jackknifed lorry at the Needham roundabout.
Officials at Norfolk County Council said it would have been “impossible” to have prevented today’s traffic chaos caused by the snow.
The commute home turned into a nightmare for several drivers after more snow showers brought main roads and to a standstill.
Officials from County Hall said gritters fitted with snow ploughs have been spreading salt on Norfolk’s 2,000 miles of priority routes 24/7 since Monday. However the sudden downpour this afternoon was too much to cope with.
Nick Tupper, highways maintenance manager, said: “With the snow falling as heavily as it did in the area between Holt, Cromer and Norwich in such a short space of time this afternoon, it has been impossible to prevent some roads becoming difficult to drive on but we can assure road users in Norfolk that our gritters have been working around the clock to get all highways moving again.”
“We will be sending all gritters back out onto the road when they return to the depots this evening but due to serious traffic delays in central parts of the county, we don’t know when the vehicles will return and therefore can’t guarantee the time of the next run. Our morning crews will be going on an additional run at midnight.”
“For the treatment to be effective we need a combination of the salt being laid down on the road but also the traffic moving the salt to allow it to be used to best effect and we take this into account when organising the gritting runs.
Traffic in Norwich city centre has eased off, although major routes out of Norwich continue to be congested.
The A11 Newmarket Road remains busy, particularly near the Daniels Road roundabout. Motorists say that traffic is moving, albeit very slowly as vehicles negotiate the snowy roads.
A Norfolk police spokesman said that an earlier accident on the A47 near the Norfolk Showground involved a jackknifed lorry.
There were no major injuries but the spokesman said that the knock-on effects included ambulances being delayed getting to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
A police spokesman said: “It has been absolute chaos on the roads, but we have had no reports of any major injuries. However, there were reports that babies had been stuck in cars for long periods, with some people stuck in cars for up to four hours.”
A spokesman for the hospital said that traffic had been leaving the hospital site very slowly but, as conditions improved slightly, many staff and visitors managed to go home after experiencing some delays. Some staff have opted to stay overnight and arrangements are being made for them to rest.
The hospital spokesman said: “We are working with Norfolk County Council and Norfolk police to clear the routes to and from the site. The area was gritted again between 4pm and 5pm and it will be treated later this evening.”
There were earlier reports of cars being abandoned on the B1149 at Corpusty and Saxthorpe, as vehicles heading in the Norwich direction were unable to get up a hill.
Earlier, three lorries jack-knifed on the A47 near Dereham, which led to long delays westbound at the A1075 South Green junction.
Heavy snow is also affecting train services to and from Norwich - with several trains cancelled including the 7pm London to Norwich. First Buses also suspended all its services due to heavy snow, untreated icy roads, accident traffic and road closures in Norwich.
Flights to and from Norwich International Airport are also suspended due to snow.