Council defend gritting action following Calderdale weather chaos

Drivers on the go-slow in Halifax.
Drivers on the go-slow in Halifax.

Calderdale Council have released a statement after mass criticism of their handling of heavy snowfall in Calderdale this week.

Four hour commutes and upturned cars are among the horror stories told by drivers trying to navigate their way around the region last night. The council's Assistant Director Steven Lee said that Calderdale was not alone in failing to deal with the adverse weather conditions despite Met Office warnings circulated earlier in the week.

“Calderdale, like other West Yorkshire areas, is currently facing a difficult and complex pattern of weather conditions, with variable snow, heavy rain, low temperatures and strong winds. In response, the Council’s winter service is on full, 24 hour standby, working throughout the borough to keep the local road network open wherever possible.

“This complex weather and the amount of traffic diverting on to more local networks from grid-locked major highways, caused traffic problems right across West Yorkshire last night (Tuesday).

"Several incidents on the M62, including a number of abandoned vehicles, led to two hour delays and caused traffic to divert through Calderdale and neighboring boroughs causing major traffic disruption in the area.

“A further road closure on Keighley Road, beyond Pecket Well, led to a diversion from Hebden Bridge for vehicles travelling to Keighley, causing additional congestion on Calderdale’s road network."

Market Street, Halifax.

Market Street, Halifax.

Mr Lee said that the combination of weather conditions had washed away what areas had been gritted in time.

“Our full fleet of gritters was out throughout the day responding to the Met Office forecast and the yellow warning for snow for the area, slightly warmer weather during the late afternoon meant that the higher water content of the sleet, snow and hail caused much of this grit to be washed away.

"Gritters were then caught up in the traffic disruption caused by the diversions, meaning many routes were not completed until later in the evening.

“As a result of the difficult driving conditions, there were also a number of road traffic accidents resulting in the need for highways colleagues and partners to attend, adding to the traffic congestion."

Gritters will have snow ploughs attached today and residents are asked to bear this in mind when parking their cars.

“As the forecast is for further snow showers and the yellow warning for snow is in force until 11am today with another warning from 6pm tonight, our gritters will be continuously driving the routes throughout the day.

"As gritters will have snow ploughs attached, they will need a clear width of 3.5m between parked cars, so residents are urged to leave enough space when they park tonight.

“We will continue to deliver a full service across the day on all our main priority routes which the majority of people use in order to ensure that they are kept clear, and access to emergency services is maintained. Once primary routes are cleared, the remaining roads on the precautionary network will be cleared.

“Ploughcroft Lane, Boothtown and Thorney Lane, Midgley are both currently closed. There is also drifting/blowing snow on Marsden Gate, Outlane. Motorists are asked to avoid these areas until further notice. As always, please take extra care when driving on all roads in bad weather.

“For more information about gritting and routes, please visit the Winter service and gritting page on the Council’s website.”