Beast from the East causes traffic chaos

Traffic at Chesterfield Road South.
Traffic at Chesterfield Road South.

The Beast from the East descended on Mansfield causing traffic delays around the district.

Main roads were gridlocked as 10 centimetres of snow fell during the week.

Traffic on the A617 Chesterfield Road at Pleasley.

Traffic on the A617 Chesterfield Road at Pleasley.

One resident said it took them three hours to travel from Ravenshead to Mansfield on Wednesday after heavy snowfall in the morning led to many workplaces and schools shutting early – sending thousands of people out onto the roads, with Rock Hill a particular troublespot as motorists struggled for traction up the hill.

One resident said: “Gritters really weren’t ready for this – but I take my hat off to them because I know they work as hard as possible.”

Another resident said: “No amount of gritting will solve the problem.”

Nottinghamshire County Council said it was the first time it deployed snow ploughs this winter, which were used in Mansfield.

Gritters have been out on the roads four times a day.

Snow started falling heavily on Wednesday, February 28, and it finally cleared on Monday, March 5.

Kevin Heathcote, gritting team manager of Via East Midlands, which delivers highways services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, including winter maintenance, said:“Our gritting teams have been working around the clock to help the county stay on the move before, during and after the recent spell of wintry weather.

“Since last Monday, we’ve been out 15 times, clocking up 37,500 kilometres.

“ Our crews were out gritting main routes in Mansfield including Rock Hill, at various times, but mainly when many residents will have been in bed, as we are often out in the early hours or very late at night.

“Seeing signs of snow or ice on a road does not mean that the road has not been treated.

“Gritters spreading grit on the road is only the start of the deicing process.

“Movement of grit around the road by traffic is essential, so when traffic levels are low, roads can remain icy or snowy for some time.

“And with the amount of heavy snow we’ve had over a week-long period, it’s inevitable driving conditions will be tricky with some short-term disruptions – particularly when it comes to hilly routes such as Rock Hill.

“We are very thankful for the public’s support and patience – particularly for all the positive comments saying what a great job our teams have been doing in such tough conditions.

“Our teams remain on 24-hour standby, which has been the case since November, as we expect more gritting runs will be needed later this week, as while no further snow is forecast, road temperatures are set to be below 0C.”

There are 23 gritters stationed across Nottinghamshire and the council has the capacity to store almost 20,000 tonnes of grit salt across the county.

Several events and visitor centres were closed because of the snow.

An anti-fracking event at Edwinstowe was cancelled on Saturday, March 3 because of the snow.

Sherwood Forest Country Park and Rufford Abbey Country Park were also closed.

But A business organisation praised the area for being ‘resilient’ and said business carried on as ‘usual’.

Caroline Cox, from Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, said:“Time and time again we hear the word resilient in connection with Mansfield and Ashfield. While the Beast from the East created unexpected disruption to businesses many were able to continue as ‘business as usual’ thanks to the infrastructure many businesses have in place for allowing staff to work

remotely.

“We are working within a time that has embraced technology. Obviously this is not practical for all organisations and it wasn’t the case for 2020 as we had our awards interview scheduled throughout the day and were very thankful to those who could make it to the offices safely.”