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NEWS:Snow Storm Brings M6 To Standstill


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#1 kenworthy

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:02 PM

Heavy snow in the north of England blocks roads and forces hundreds of drivers to spend the night in their cars.Hundreds of drivers spent up to eight hours trapped in their vehicles on the M6 in Lancashire after heavy snow brought the motorway to a standstill.
The motorway became blocked in both directions between junctions 25 and 27, near Wigan, on Friday night after vehicles became stuck in more than a foot of snow and some drivers abandoned their cars.
Many drivers were affected along the stretch between Wigan and Standish after struggling to make it up inclines in the treacherous conditions, while a number of accidents including jack-knifed lorries also blocked lanes.
Prime Minister David Cameroon tweeted: "Huge sympathy for those affected by heavy #uksnow. Govt working closely with transport operators to minimise impact on everyone."
Mountain rescue teams were brought in to help police and the Highways Agency clear roads and assist those who were stranded.
One man had to be taken to hospital after becoming ill in his car while it was stuck.
And some of the stranded drivers passed the time with snowball fights and building snowmen.The M6 gridlock. Pic Kevin Collister
The M6, as well as the M56 and M58 which were also blocked, are now all moving again but remain heavily congested with long tailbacks, Lancashire Police said.
Motorists contacted Sky News overnight to share their tales of woe.
Kevin Collister, stuck on the motorway just past the M58 junction heading northbound, said: "There is absolutely no movement whatsoever on my side of the carriageway, all the snow is squashed down into ice and there are wagons trying to move and sliding sideways.
"It's an absolute nightmare, we've been here for three hours so far. A few people are saying we might be here for the night but we're just hoping we can get through."
Conservative MP David Morris, stuck on the southbound carriageway, said: "We've ground to a halt on both sides. Nothing is really moving.
"But the emergency services have been fantastic and are doing the best for us, and everyone is in good spirits.Some M6 motorists made the most of the snow. Pic Ashley Pinches
"I've just seen a snowball fight and the man next door to me has built a snowman on top of his car roof ... it's very surreal."
Barry Pinches, on his way to Blackpool, told Sky News: "At one stage we didn't think we would make it but it looks like things are moving slowly now. We saw some snow ploughs on the southbound carriageway but there doesn't seem to be too many of them - they have their work cut out."
Pete Martin, from the Highways Agency, confirmed to Sky News that the carriageways had been gritted before the snow came down.
"We had an extremely intense fall of snow across Lancashire between 8.30pm and midnight and basically there wasn't enough traffic to keep the lanes moving," he said.The M6 was blocked both ways in Lancashire
"A number of HGVs lost traction between junctions 25 and 27 and once they blocked the carriageway the snow stacked up and the result was a number of stranded vehicles."
The agency worked throughout the night to clear the routes with snow ploughs. It is urging those who had abandoned their cars to return to them as soon as possible.
A spokesman said: "With the rain falling and ice melting onto very cold road surfaces, we are now warning drivers of the danger of ice."
Hazardous driving conditions led to collisions and delays on many routes across the north of England, including the M18, M60, M65, M56 and M58.
Meanwhile, all flights were suspended at Leeds Bradford International Airport during the morning as a fresh blanket of snow covered most of the Yorkshire region.
North Yorkshire Fire Service said a couple had to be rescued from a snow drift on the North York Moors last night.
North Yorkshire Police said some main roads were blocked by snow and abandoned vehicles including the A59 between Harrogate and Skipton and the B6265 at Rylstone.
Weather experts have warned of the risk of flooding this weekend, as heavy rain moves in and rising temperatures spark a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice.
 
Sky attempted to take up the stance that the problems were due to the HA. They hunted down many who would talk to them live on air, but they found none that could truthfully blame the HA for this nightmare. 
 
I really feel for Sky TV  :crazy:  :crazy:
 
Video on Sky`s web site!

Click here to view the article


Edited by kenworthy, 26 January 2013 - 03:07 PM.


#2 Bart

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:07 PM

Thankfully I was off duty and not involved in this at all, It was no bed of roses further north between 37 and 40 but we managed to keep one lane running. :thumbsup:



#3 gripper

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

My Hero x :D

#4 Bart

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:33 PM

Ta luv. :wink:



#5 Biffo

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

I was working in the control room at J23,M6 and can say it was the worst ever weather I've had to deal with in the 7 years that I've worked there. The snow was falling that heavy, if a vehicle slid and blocked a lane, within minutes the snow had settled that much that nothing could move. HGV's drive wheels were just spinning and slidding making them jack-knife.

Some members of the Great British public still have no idea how to prepare for this sort of weather, no warm clothes, no decent footwear, no charge in their mobile, running out of fuel, need medication and don't have any with them,  diabetic and no food to keep sugar levels up.

They also ignored the closure signals at the start of the sliproads and still joined the c/way, only to become part of the problem. All services were engaged in trying to free lanes for running, there wasn't anyone spare to man these sliproads.



#6 Wrist Assessment

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:10 PM

Thankfully I was off duty and not involved in this at all, It was no bed of roses further north between 37 and 40 but we managed to keep one lane running. :thumbsup:

 

Don't fret Barty - we were out keeping Cumbria's major artery flowing while you were busy elsewhere - all I can say is it was Christmas for recovery operators and barrier repair crews! Top view of the evening was the motorcyclist we saw on the hardshoulder in the snow looking bewildered - obviously looking at the weather forecast isn't one of his priorities!! <_<



#7 Traffic Rat

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:30 PM

One failure was the HA management having meetings when police on scene were calling for the snow ploughs virtually straight away.

 

Didnt see a single gritter/ plough on Area 10 for several hours. First ones I saw ran M6 north from Knutsford area at about 22.30 hrs long, long after the snow had started settling.

 

Smacks of what we have heard before about the new Area 10 contractors wanting to know who is authorising payment before turning a wheel.



#8 Bart

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:25 AM

And that was after we were told winter maintenance wouldn't be compromised.

#9 Bart

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:32 AM

I was working in the control room at J23,M6 and can say it was the worst ever weather I've had to deal with in the 7 years that I've worked there. The snow was falling that heavy, if a vehicle slid and blocked a lane, within minutes the snow had settled that much that nothing could move. HGV's drive wheels were just spinning and slidding making them jack-knife.
Some members of the Great British public still have no idea how to prepare for this sort of weather, no warm clothes, no decent footwear, no charge in their mobile, running out of fuel, need medication and don't have any with them,  diabetic and no food to keep sugar levels up.
They also ignored the closure signals at the start of the sliproads and still joined the c/way, only to become part of the problem. All services were engaged in trying to free lanes for running, there wasn't anyone spare to man these sliproads.


Welcome to the forum Jim. (slabs) :thumbsup:

Thanks for putting my mind at rest wristy - kerching! :wink:

#10 Biffo

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

One failure was the HA management having meetings when police on scene were calling for the snow ploughs virtually straight away.

 

Didnt see a single gritter/ plough on Area 10 for several hours. First ones I saw ran M6 north from Knutsford area at about 22.30 hrs long, long after the snow had started settling.

 

Smacks of what we have heard before about the new Area 10 contractors wanting to know who is authorising payment before turning a wheel.

Actually the gritters have been out non stop over the last few days, how many there are of them now, or if their numbers have dwindled, I don't know. The stretch between J27 - J26 had only been gritted approx 30 before the problems started, but with the level of snowfall in that area, once a couple of HGVs get stuck, you're knackered.

There's a lot of questions being asked about the new Area 10, and I'm not a fan either, but I don't think there was anything different than previously done.

 

I know that on the N/B side just prior J27, one HGV got stuck in lane 1, the next HGV tried to past it in lane 2 where there was more snow lying and he got stuck, then another one tried lane 3 where nothing had been, and he got stuck, there were 3 HGVs across the c/way, with snow falling at the rate it did, there was no chance.

On the S/B side there'd been an RTC just below J27 with a vehicle spread across lanes 2 & £, I've no doubt that traffic had to halt whilst emergency crews etc attended, meanwhile in front of it, the snow was still falling and building up, so when the traffic started to go through they were driving through new snow on top of previously packed snow.

 

I drove to the airport on Saturday night, and there was very little sign of snow anywhere except between j25 and J28, were there was still piles alongside the H/S that had been ploughed there. The M56 and the M6 lower than J23 were completely clear, the rain had washed it away

 

The big problem with a snowfall like this, is that in the UK we only used to get something like this every 10 years or so (OK, we had it in the same place 2 yrs ago, I know) so we don't have the correct tyres, or the skills to drive in it, or to be prepared for the worst should we get stuck in it. MOPs with no coats, no decent footwear, no fuel, no medication, no food when you're a diabetic, let alone stitting with all ights on flattening batteries etc. all this came to the for again on Friday night.

In Sweden, I believe it's compulsory to fit studded tyres at the start of winter, and it's an offence not to have them fitted. the roads there look like millions of women in steletto have marched up and down the tarmac for ever. 

You know as well as I do that HGV tyres look like slicks with a couple of grooves around the circumferance, not a chance if snow falls! We all know that rear wheel drive cars are not the best in snowy conditions, but an artic is basically a rear wheel drive vehicle with 30+ tons on it's back, as soon as it starts to slip, the rear axle will slid in the direction of least resistance making the artic jacknife.

 

It's not as though it was a shock to the public either, it had been on TV for a few days beofre, there was a weather warning out, the VMS had shown that "severe weather expected Friday"  these were even changed to "severe weather today" on Friday morning.

 

It's also easy for the police to keep calling for gritters to attend at places, the gritters have route preplanned to grit so that everywhere gets done, and if you pull one to go elsewhere, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul, especially if it not long since been done.

 

Have you seen the kit that Area 1o have that tells them, the temp of the road surface, the amount of salt lying on that surface, it also charts the history over the last 24 hours of both items, so they can see any trend and usually know where gritters are needed first . If there is likely to be a patch of sever weather they are in regular touch with the met office (evey 30 mins I think?)

 

It's easy to say that it's the HA fault, or Area 10, but it wasn't either.



#11 rasb0

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

One failure was the HA management having meetings when police on scene were calling for the snow ploughs virtually straight away.

 

Didnt see a single gritter/ plough on Area 10 for several hours. First ones I saw ran M6 north from Knutsford area at about 22.30 hrs long, long after the snow had started settling.

 

Smacks of what we have heard before about the new Area 10 contractors wanting to know who is authorising payment before turning a wheel.

"Meetings"?? With hot cups of tea & coffee, cucumber sandwiches and no ideas?? I don't think so.

 

"Police calling for ploughs straight away"?? The snow didn't just fall in one place (The M6), it fell across most of the NW region! What makes any one location more wortyhy of a plough than another? I'm sure every Traffic Officer & Police Officer would have a liked a plough at their location be it M6, M60, M62, etc. etc........ Some (including Traffic Officers) thought by shouting demands across the airwaves, their plight would be viewed as more urgent than the last. The realists however understood the situation across the region, recognised the gritters/ploughs were doing their best and would arrive as soon as they could and got on with doing what had to be done until the ploughs battled through totally blocked carriageways.

 

The HA will no doubt hold "hot" debriefs, "cool" debriefs and "cold" debriefs for days to come across the region and micro-analyse every moment of that night. They will possibly come up with one or two good ideas (if attention is taken of the guys and gals on road and not just the usual office bound). BUT short of having a gritter/plough at every junction across the region, if the public insist on using the motorways in those weather conditions (AS IS THEIR RIGHT, albeir misguided) it will be pretty much the same next time. It is very hard to legislate for those extreme conditions in such a short space of time.

 

On a final note, WELL DONE to the guys at the sharp end, Traffic Officers (inc Comms), Police & Emergency Services, gritter/plough drivers and the other agencies who were out there doing what had to be done making sure the motorists came to no harm.

 

$hit happens, get on with it!



#12 Traffic Rat

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

The simple fact was that officers at the scene realised very early on what would happen should the carriageway be blocked for time and no traffic going over it for some time, then it would build up and the become impossible got LGV's to get up the hill to J27.

 

The gritters/ploughs certainly not out on my section of the M6 in Area 10 on Friday evening, 1 officer saw a single one in about a  2 hour period, and others reported not seeing them.

 

To get told HA were having a meeting about it is a joke when your out at the sharp end as I and the many other Police and ON ROAD HA staff were, the Comms staff in the RCC were also pulled out.

 

From my end it typifies the typical HA Management attitude, has anyone in HA sorted out the flaw in the Contract about MRT (Old ISU's) not assisting with a closure of Thelwall in the event of High Winds ???



#13 rasb0

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

The simple fact was that officers at the scene realised very early on what would happen should the carriageway be blocked for time and no traffic going over it for some time, then it would build up and the become impossible got LGV's to get up the hill to J27.

 

The gritters/ploughs certainly not out on my section of the M6 in Area 10 on Friday evening, 1 officer saw a single one in about a  2 hour period, and others reported not seeing them.

 

To get told HA were having a meeting about it is a joke when your out at the sharp end as I and the many other Police and ON ROAD HA staff were, the Comms staff in the RCC were also pulled out.

 

From my end it typifies the typical HA Management attitude, has anyone in HA sorted out the flaw in the Contract about MRT (Old ISU's) not assisting with a closure of Thelwall in the event of High Winds ???

I'm not having a go at you, I too was out there (M62, J18 - J20, mayhem!!) and I agree it was EXTREMELY frustrating to say the least but everyone was in the same or at least, similar boat. I don't know where your info. came from that the HA were "having a meeting" about "whatever". The "Gritting Programme" was in full swing and had been all afternoon. I can't speak for what was happening on the M6 (I wasn't there), however gritters/ploughs were out in force on the M60 & M62 (I saw them), why it should be any different on M6 I don't know, there lies a question.

 

Whether you believe it or not, I doubt HA managers JUST sat around chatting and debating when action was needed, while all hell broke loose. 

 

I don't know who, but someone with balls for a change, made a major decision that went against HA procedures and made a massive difference and enabled Traffic Officer crews to "help" HGVs get moving. The decision could have come earlier but eventually someone realised it was the one thing given the situation that would make the difference. TOWING, well done that man!

 

As for the "flaws" in the new ASContract of which there are many (not just MRTs), they are working on it. It is a multi-million pound contract with many a legal issue that cannot be changed overnight. We just have to work with it. The question is, how did it get to implementation. Answer, as usual no on even asked the question of us on the front line, "can you see any problems with this plan?" We saw the plan after it was signed off and YES we could all see the problems that have subsequently transpired. It's in and we have to work with it, while the powers that be do their bit and as we all know, the wheels of the Civil Service run neither smoothly or quickly!

 

I know I'm not going to change your view on HA management many of us hold similar views to a lesser or greater degree. We have good and some not so as do the Police, Fire, Ambo, Armed Forces, etc, etc, etc......... There are also good TO's and not so good TO's. Good or not so, not one of us is perfect although I'm very close, maybe by next year.



#14 snafu

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:24 PM

BR

 

Whilst I would agree that the ASC contract is in a lot of respects a shambles (which as said is hopefully being addressed, too late granted) the winter maintenance part is the same across the area. Certainly by local depot in area 10 has exactly the same equipment and staffing as it always has had for this role and was going at all out, all afternoon and night.



#15 Traffic Rat

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:58 PM

ras & snafu, Thank you both for the replies. You have given me more info in a couple of posts than what I have been told or heard through the grape vine in the post few months. :clapping:



#16 snafu

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:36 PM

ras & snafu, Thank you both for the replies. You have given me more info in a couple of posts than what I have been told or heard through the grape vine in the post few months. :clapping:

 

No worries. If you want info just PM and ask :thumbsup:



#17 duke3376

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 03:59 PM

I know its a little late but my 10p: I was at Jn 27 that night, just after the RTC at 19:00ish and just as the snow was falling, and like Biffo has said the snow that night was horrendous, the wind stopped and the snow flakes turned to rather large clumps, this just turned the running lanes into a ski park, the opposite carriageway which is where I was for 8 hours started to slow due to Rubberneckers, this in turn slowed the lorries down which then lost their traction, 2 lorries spread over 3 lanes not good, gritters out and about doing their thing. Then the digging began, the towing of cars also began, there was no way I'm digging lorries out as some of the drivers just wouldn't do any sort of self help, so the decision was to leave the lorries and focus on the cars. I got hold of a grittier about 3 hours into this about 23:00ish, I had him reversing back down from Jn 27 and every 100m i stopped him to dump salt in piles this was then spread across the 3 lanes on the hill, he also dumped salt near the Lorries the drivers did then self help. I have heard of people spending the night in their cars between 26 and 27, those reports were wrong, motorway was running all night technically, once the carriageway was running freely we then moved a number of heavies with the help of a recovery firm. The rumour about the HA having a meeting whilst this was going on is absolute Boll****, yet another rumour that has been designed to put the HA in a bad light, all it takes is one person to say something and it spreads like wild fire. The Mountain Rescue crews that night helped by doing a spot of welfare with the public. 






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