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Treacherous roads bring travel chaos to West Dorset
MOTORISTS faced travel misery on West Dorset roads as snow and ice made conditions treacherous.
Icy conditions on the A35 on Tuesday from Bridport to Dorchester saw traffic backlogged with journeys torturously slow.
Motorists said the road appeared to have received no treatment.
Michael McGrath, of Netherbury, said: “The A35 was in a terrible state.
“My daughter comes to work in Salway Ash from Dorchester and it took her an hour-and-a-half doing 10 miles an hour.
“I think she saw two buses off the road.
“I pay £2,500 a year in rates for my house and I can’t use the roads.
“Someone is not doing their job.”
Bridport town surveyor Daryl Chambers said traffic on the trunk road was moving at a snail’s pace as cars struggled to negotiate the hills.
A spokesman for the Highways Agency, which is responsible for the A35, said: “Safety on the roads is always a priority.
“The A35 was treated at 6pm on Monday, January 14 and again at 1am and 8am on Tuesday.
“Our winter fleet works around the clock, but incidents and breakdowns can prevent our winter service vehicles from treating the roads and cause further problems.
“We strongly advise road users who do decide to travel during severe winter weather to check road conditions and the weather forecast.
“We advise that they 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.
“When driving in severe winter weather drivers should leave enough distance between vehicles to stop safely.”
Police were also called to an accident at Askerswell House at 7.45am.
An ambulance was called but later cancelled after a call from a female driver stating she did not require treatment and was uninjured.
A police spokesman said: “This road traffic accident is believed to have been caused by a sheet of ice along this stretch of road that was deemed extremely dangerous.”
The local authority was contacted and two gritters attended to make the road safe.
Numerous other incidents on the A35 were reported to police and on Eggardon Hill cars were stuck as drivers failed to negotiate the icy surfaces.
There was also a crash at Melplash which closed the A3066 road and another collision at Halstock. Journeys from Weymouth to Bridport were reported to be taking three hours.
Dorset County Council gritted all their major routes at 5pm on Monday and again from 2am until dawn.
Lorries also responded to police requests as far as they could, said a spokesman.
On Monday morning the county council put down 94 tonnes of salt on the network and a further 94 tonnes in the evening.
From 2am, on Tuesday, 280 tonnes of salt was spread with gritters scheduled out again in the afternoon as another night of freezing temperatures was forecast.
But people also made the most of the conditions by getting out and about.
Richard Cooper of the Bull Hotel captured a picture of his dogs Lulu and Alice enjoying the snow on Eggardon Hill.
Richard White also got a picture of Bulbarrow Hill covered by snow.