SNOW: Roads come to a standstill in Swindon

This Is Wiltshire: Drivers had to cope with broken down vehicles in Groundwell Road Drivers had to cope with broken down vehicles in Groundwell Road

HEAVY snow wreaked havoc across the town yesterday causing gridlock on the roads, car accidents and train and bus cancellations.

The snowfall, which reached a foot in some places, led to a busy day for emergency services as they were inundated with calls and police even warned they were delayed in getting to incidents due to the congestion.

All Thamesdown Transport buses were suspended as chief executive Paul Jenkins said the roads had deteriorated to a point where it was unsafe to run services.

Council services, including household waste and recycling collections, were disrupted with rubbish collections being prioritised. But all collections in Highworth were been suspended because of the hills, which are impassable for collection trucks.

The M4 saw long delays between junction 16 and 17 after it was restricted to one lane due to heavy snow, while a car hit the central reservation shortly after 9am.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “We ploughed the M4 to try to keep as many lanes open as possible.”

Meanwhile Thamesdown Drive at Mouldon Hill, Victoria Road and Salthrop Hill in Wroughton as many cars struggled to negotiate hills.

A police spokesman said: “We had around 30 transport or vehicle-related incidents reported in the north of Wiltshire between midnight and late-afternoon on Friday.

“Many of them are minor traffic collisions, reports of car being stuck or skidding. Thamesdown Drive saw a broken down vehicle causing traffic tailbacks.”

Motorist Des Morgan described the chaos on the roads, with drivers unable to scale the incline on Westfield Way, in Haydon Wick.

He said: “There wasn’t a hint of grit on the roads and people were abandoning their cars or parking in the side roads. It was unbelievable that such an important road was not gritted.

“Cars were trying to get up the incline but they could not make it - it was absurd.”

Richard Fisher, Streetsmart Service delivery manager, said: “Our gritting crews worked round the clock to treat the roads – they completed two 270-mile routes, covering all main and nearly half of the roads in the borough throughout Thursday night.

“On Friday morning they also completed a third trip for rural routes, where conditions were more treacherous.”

Great Western Ambulance Service say they are managing to get to patients despite the snow.

She said: “We're not seeing any sort of increase in demand for our services because of the weather.

“The thing that is holding us, and everyone else up, is the road conditions.

“It increased the length of time it takes us to get to patients but we are getting to them.”

And there was not much joy for those opting for the trains, as First Great Western services from Swindon to other parts of the London mainline were severely disrupted, with delays of up to half an hour.

Hundreds of holiday-makers were also left disappointed as flights were cancelled at Heathrow and Bristol and Cardiff airports shut entirely.

Comments (14)

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8:08am Sat 19 Jan 13

The Real Librarian says...

Went to work by car yesterday.
Came home.
No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons.
If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it.
Went to work by car yesterday. Came home. No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons. If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it. The Real Librarian

11:32am Sat 19 Jan 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

And less than a day later red light jumping on Thamesdown drive is back in action coupled with dangerous and illegal parking on the estates.

Ho Hum.
And less than a day later red light jumping on Thamesdown drive is back in action coupled with dangerous and illegal parking on the estates. Ho Hum. LordAshOfTheBrake

12:04pm Sat 19 Jan 13

Coolhandkeith says...

I do not understand this council when it snows like it did yesterday why aren't there council workman on the hills like kingshill and Victoria hill and cricklade st with salt and shovels to help the motorists up and down the hills and keep the traffic moving instead of it causing total gridlock as per the case yesterday
I do not understand this council when it snows like it did yesterday why aren't there council workman on the hills like kingshill and Victoria hill and cricklade st with salt and shovels to help the motorists up and down the hills and keep the traffic moving instead of it causing total gridlock as per the case yesterday Coolhandkeith

12:20pm Sat 19 Jan 13

westswin says...

The Real Librarian wrote:
Went to work by car yesterday.
Came home.
No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons.
If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it.
Well said.

I went to work at 5am and went home at 2:30pm. I personaly had no problems but i could see why some people did.
People driving far to fast, trying to overtake cars that were driving at about 5mph, even fools that were thinking they looked good wheelspinning and sliding their cars around corners.
If they all grew up and drove properly then there probably would not of been as many problems on the roads.

Just one question, why dont the council use snowploughs anymore to clear the snow as well as grit?
[quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: Went to work by car yesterday. Came home. No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons. If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it.[/p][/quote]Well said. I went to work at 5am and went home at 2:30pm. I personaly had no problems but i could see why some people did. People driving far to fast, trying to overtake cars that were driving at about 5mph, even fools that were thinking they looked good wheelspinning and sliding their cars around corners. If they all grew up and drove properly then there probably would not of been as many problems on the roads. Just one question, why dont the council use snowploughs anymore to clear the snow as well as grit? westswin

2:26pm Sat 19 Jan 13

SAM2WIN says...

westswin wrote:
The Real Librarian wrote:
Went to work by car yesterday.
Came home.
No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons.
If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it.
Well said.

I went to work at 5am and went home at 2:30pm. I personaly had no problems but i could see why some people did.
People driving far to fast, trying to overtake cars that were driving at about 5mph, even fools that were thinking they looked good wheelspinning and sliding their cars around corners.
If they all grew up and drove properly then there probably would not of been as many problems on the roads.

Just one question, why dont the council use snowploughs anymore to clear the snow as well as grit?
westswin says...
12:20pm Sat 19 Jan 13


The Real Librarian wrote:
Went to work by car yesterday.
Came home.
No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons.
If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it.
Well said.

I went to work at 5am and went home at 2:30pm. I personaly had no problems but i could see why some people did.
People driving far to fast, trying to overtake cars that were driving at about 5mph, even fools that were thinking they looked good wheelspinning and sliding their cars around corners.
If they all grew up and drove properly then there probably would not of been as many problems on the roads.

Just one question, why dont the council use snowploughs anymore to clear the snow as well as grit?”


Swowploughs were in use yesterday , where it was practical .

They can only remove deep snow down to a depth of about a couple of inches above the road suface because of "cats-eyes" ,speed humps & similar obstructions. They have no impact on compresed snow & ice .

The ONLY way to cope with that is for drivers to drive sensibly ,& with consideration for other road users , unlike the 2 idiots in 4 wheel drives in the Queens drive Bus lane @about 10-30 who both jumped the RED ped x light @ the Bulldog
[quote][p][bold]westswin[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Real Librarian[/bold] wrote: Went to work by car yesterday. Came home. No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons. If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it.[/p][/quote]Well said. I went to work at 5am and went home at 2:30pm. I personaly had no problems but i could see why some people did. People driving far to fast, trying to overtake cars that were driving at about 5mph, even fools that were thinking they looked good wheelspinning and sliding their cars around corners. If they all grew up and drove properly then there probably would not of been as many problems on the roads. Just one question, why dont the council use snowploughs anymore to clear the snow as well as grit?[/p][/quote]westswin says... 12:20pm Sat 19 Jan 13 The Real Librarian wrote: Went to work by car yesterday. Came home. No real difficulty apart from tailgating morons. If it snows morenoften we might learn to drive in it. Well said. I went to work at 5am and went home at 2:30pm. I personaly had no problems but i could see why some people did. People driving far to fast, trying to overtake cars that were driving at about 5mph, even fools that were thinking they looked good wheelspinning and sliding their cars around corners. If they all grew up and drove properly then there probably would not of been as many problems on the roads. Just one question, why dont the council use snowploughs anymore to clear the snow as well as grit?” Swowploughs were in use yesterday , where it was practical . They can only remove deep snow down to a depth of about a couple of inches above the road suface because of "cats-eyes" ,speed humps & similar obstructions. They have no impact on compresed snow & ice . The ONLY way to cope with that is for drivers to drive sensibly ,& with consideration for other road users , unlike the 2 idiots in 4 wheel drives in the Queens drive Bus lane @about 10-30 who both jumped the RED ped x light @ the Bulldog SAM2WIN

4:32pm Sat 19 Jan 13

GMG231 says...

Ploughs should have been out first thing to clear the roads, especially on the hills. Grit should be spread on a ploughed road, it's no use on top of snow, it just creates a muddy mess which is still slippery. My husband and I got stuck going up Drove Road when we lost traction and couldn't get up the hill. We turned around to go back, got stuck in traffic and then our car began to overheat. The picture above is our car on the side of the road. Nice that the photographer found time to take the photo but no time to ask if we needed help.
Ploughs should have been out first thing to clear the roads, especially on the hills. Grit should be spread on a ploughed road, it's no use on top of snow, it just creates a muddy mess which is still slippery. My husband and I got stuck going up Drove Road when we lost traction and couldn't get up the hill. We turned around to go back, got stuck in traffic and then our car began to overheat. The picture above is our car on the side of the road. Nice that the photographer found time to take the photo but no time to ask if we needed help. GMG231

5:08pm Sat 19 Jan 13

Davey Gravey says...

If idiots weren't out blocking roads and crashing then the gritters could have got through quicker. Utter morons. A big thumbs down to royal mail managers sending out their lorry drivers in dangerous conditions too. Well done to the caring employers who told staff to stay home or sent them home early.
If idiots weren't out blocking roads and crashing then the gritters could have got through quicker. Utter morons. A big thumbs down to royal mail managers sending out their lorry drivers in dangerous conditions too. Well done to the caring employers who told staff to stay home or sent them home early. Davey Gravey

6:02pm Sat 19 Jan 13

TinkeyWinkey says...

With the amount of roads in and around Swindon & Villages not sure the council would ever please each and everyone of us. Roads where I live are lethal but it's side roads and I know they won't be gritted. I don't blame the council for that I blame the thieving neighbours who pinch the grit for their own properties & Government for dictating to councils which roads are priorities. I bought my own grit to clear in and around my property
With the amount of roads in and around Swindon & Villages not sure the council would ever please each and everyone of us. Roads where I live are lethal but it's side roads and I know they won't be gritted. I don't blame the council for that I blame the thieving neighbours who pinch the grit for their own properties & Government for dictating to councils which roads are priorities. I bought my own grit to clear in and around my property TinkeyWinkey

4:36pm Sun 20 Jan 13

PJC says...

I can't believe they're calling it 'heavy' snow! When I had my paper round in the mid 1980s, I still did it in 2 feet of snow, but was pleased when a customer came out and told me that they'd heard on the radio that my school was closed.
I can't believe they're calling it 'heavy' snow! When I had my paper round in the mid 1980s, I still did it in 2 feet of snow, but was pleased when a customer came out and told me that they'd heard on the radio that my school was closed. PJC

2:39am Mon 21 Jan 13

SpeakUp says...

How sad it is that a few inches of snow brought Swindon (and the country) to a standstill. Thamesdown Transport has=d a "news ticj=ker" at the top their website stating all services were cancelled from 1030 even though, it seems, they were not. That cost us many thousands of pounds as employees panicked and left work early. SBC claimed they gritted but as has already been said there is no point gritting without ploughing in these circumstances. Be glad we're not Russian or Swedish, I guess :-) Pathetic. Whatever happened to "keep calm and carry on"?
How sad it is that a few inches of snow brought Swindon (and the country) to a standstill. Thamesdown Transport has=d a "news ticj=ker" at the top their website stating all services were cancelled from 1030 even though, it seems, they were not. That cost us many thousands of pounds as employees panicked and left work early. SBC claimed they gritted but as has already been said there is no point gritting without ploughing in these circumstances. Be glad we're not Russian or Swedish, I guess :-) Pathetic. Whatever happened to "keep calm and carry on"? SpeakUp

8:54am Mon 21 Jan 13

Always Grumpy says...

PJC wrote:
I can't believe they're calling it 'heavy' snow! When I had my paper round in the mid 1980s, I still did it in 2 feet of snow, but was pleased when a customer came out and told me that they'd heard on the radio that my school was closed.
I've photos of me as a little boy standing in the snow of 1947 - now, that was real winter, rather like the cracker we had in 1963.
[quote][p][bold]PJC[/bold] wrote: I can't believe they're calling it 'heavy' snow! When I had my paper round in the mid 1980s, I still did it in 2 feet of snow, but was pleased when a customer came out and told me that they'd heard on the radio that my school was closed.[/p][/quote]I've photos of me as a little boy standing in the snow of 1947 - now, that was real winter, rather like the cracker we had in 1963. Always Grumpy

9:02am Mon 21 Jan 13

PJC says...

Always Grumpy wrote:
PJC wrote:
I can't believe they're calling it 'heavy' snow! When I had my paper round in the mid 1980s, I still did it in 2 feet of snow, but was pleased when a customer came out and told me that they'd heard on the radio that my school was closed.
I've photos of me as a little boy standing in the snow of 1947 - now, that was real winter, rather like the cracker we had in 1963.
My Dad told me stories of the 1940's snow. He lived in Fritwell, but still managed to walk to school in Bicester.That indeed was proper winter!
[quote][p][bold]Always Grumpy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]PJC[/bold] wrote: I can't believe they're calling it 'heavy' snow! When I had my paper round in the mid 1980s, I still did it in 2 feet of snow, but was pleased when a customer came out and told me that they'd heard on the radio that my school was closed.[/p][/quote]I've photos of me as a little boy standing in the snow of 1947 - now, that was real winter, rather like the cracker we had in 1963.[/p][/quote]My Dad told me stories of the 1940's snow. He lived in Fritwell, but still managed to walk to school in Bicester.That indeed was proper winter! PJC

11:43am Mon 21 Jan 13

Davey Gravey says...

SpeakUp wrote:
How sad it is that a few inches of snow brought Swindon (and the country) to a standstill. Thamesdown Transport has=d a "news ticj=ker" at the top their website stating all services were cancelled from 1030 even though, it seems, they were not. That cost us many thousands of pounds as employees panicked and left work early. SBC claimed they gritted but as has already been said there is no point gritting without ploughing in these circumstances. Be glad we're not Russian or Swedish, I guess :-) Pathetic. Whatever happened to "keep calm and carry on"?
It was stupid people carrying on as normal which pushed emergency services to the limit and led to numerous accidents. Thankfully most listened to the advice given and acted sensibly.
[quote][p][bold]SpeakUp[/bold] wrote: How sad it is that a few inches of snow brought Swindon (and the country) to a standstill. Thamesdown Transport has=d a "news ticj=ker" at the top their website stating all services were cancelled from 1030 even though, it seems, they were not. That cost us many thousands of pounds as employees panicked and left work early. SBC claimed they gritted but as has already been said there is no point gritting without ploughing in these circumstances. Be glad we're not Russian or Swedish, I guess :-) Pathetic. Whatever happened to "keep calm and carry on"?[/p][/quote]It was stupid people carrying on as normal which pushed emergency services to the limit and led to numerous accidents. Thankfully most listened to the advice given and acted sensibly. Davey Gravey

11:32pm Mon 21 Jan 13

SpeakUp says...

Perhaps more snow ploughs would have a spin-off benefit - they'd remove some of the excess number of speedhumps around the town :-)

Then again, maybe that's why the council seem to have stopped using them?
Perhaps more snow ploughs would have a spin-off benefit - they'd remove some of the excess number of speedhumps around the town :-) Then again, maybe that's why the council seem to have stopped using them? SpeakUp

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