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Travel warnings as snow causes traffic chaos on Somerset roads

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

  • A van on its side on West Coker Road this morning

  • A motorcyclist struggles in the snow on the A38 near Whiteball last night

  • The scene on the A38 near Whiteball, where around 40 cars were stranded yesterday evening

  • Traffic builds up at the sliproad roundabout for junction 26 of the M5 at Wellington

  • Traffic in the snow on the A38 at Wellington

  • Dangerous conditions at junction 26 of the M5 motorway last night

  • The scene at Taunton Deane Services yesterday afternoon

  • The M5 motorway at Taunton yesterday afternoon

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Drivers are being advised to avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary this morning after heavy snow brought chaos to Somerset's roads last night.

Several inches of snow fell within a few hours over many parts of the county yesterday afternoon, causing crashes and road blockages, and leaving hundreds of motorists stranded.

With freezing temperatures overnight, conditions are even more hazardous and many roads are impassable this morning.

The Met Office's severe weather warning of snow is in place until 9am, and there is a further yellow alert for ice after that.

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Gill Risdale, the Highways Agency's operations manager for the South West, said: “Our winter fleet works around the clock and roads across the South West will continue to be treated whenever there is a risk of ice or snow.

“During severe winter weather drivers should check road conditions and the weather forecast before setting out,and if conditions are poor and journeys are not essential they should think about delaying until conditions improve.

"Drivers who do set out are advised to take extra care, to leave plenty of extra time for their journeys, and to leave enough distance between vehicles to stop safely.

"While driving they should listen to travel bulletins on the radio and take a severe weather emergency kit including warm clothes, food, water, boots, a torch and spade for snow.”

Some drivers in Somerset last night reported that routine 30-minute drives took in excess of four hours.

Cars were stranded on roads across the county, including the A37 Dorchester Road in Yeovil, the A358 between Ilminster and Taunton, the A303 between Southfields Roundabout and Upottery, the A39 in Farrington Gurney and the A37 Kilver Street Hill at Shepton Mallet.

The M5 motorway was down to one lane in places as snow settled on the outside two lanes, with the worst-hit stretch being between junction 25 at Taunton and junction 27 at Tiverton in East Devon.

SOMERSET TRAFFIC AND TRAVEL - LATEST INFORMATION

M5: Drivers are being warned of hazardous conditions between junction 26 (the A38 for Wellington) and junction 23 (the A39 for Bridgwater North).

A303: Dangerous conditions between the Southfields Roundabout at Ilminster and East Devon.

A39: The A39 remains closed in both directions at Farrington Gurney. The A39 Puriton Hill is blocked in both directions due to snow, and vehicles have been getting stuck. Drivers are also warned to expect hazardous conditions on the A39 at Bridgwater. On Exmoor, the A39 at Porlock Hill is closed in both directions.

A38: The A38 was closed between Wellington and junction 27 of the M5 motorway last night after around 40 cars got stuck in the snow at Whiteball.

A37: Cars became stranded on the A37 Dorchester Road at Yeovil last night, and conditions remain treacherous this morning. The A37 Kilver Street Hill at Shepton Mallet has also reported hazardous conditions.

A358: Vehicles have been getting stuck on the stretch of the road at West Hatch, between Ilminster and Taunton. Drivers are also being warned of hazardous conditions at Ashill.

A396: A fallen tree added to the problems caused by snow on the A396 in Dulverton this lunchtime. The road was blocked in both directions between the B3222 junction in Dulverton and the B3224 Summerway junction at Wheddon Cross.

Click here to see the latest weather forecast in Somerset.

Click here to visit the Met Office website.

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