Fresh snowfalls gridlock roads in the St Albans district as stocks of grit run low

PUBLISHED: 11:18 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

FRESH and heavy snowfall overnight has gridlocked roads all around the St Albans district this morning (Thursday). Motorists have struggled through long queues on nearly all the main routes in and out of the city and Harpenden and many side roads, particu

FRESH and heavy snowfall overnight has gridlocked roads all around the St Albans district this morning (Thursday).

Motorists have struggled through long queues on nearly all the main routes in and out of the city and Harpenden and many side roads, particularly those on hills, are impassable.

The situation is compounded by fears that Herts County Council could run out of grit - one of a number of local authorities in the south east which are being rationed by suppliers.

Gritting crews have been out treating priority roads in conjunction with the police but a statement from the county council yesterday said that supplies were now down to 160 tonnes a day - and the county council has used 4,000 tonnes of salt since Sunday.

As of yesterday, Herts Highways had around 1,550 tonnes of salt - equivalent to between five and 10 full salting runs - but that was before the most recent snowfall.

It is trying to source supplies of salt from overseas as well as putting pressure on its suppliers to deliver the salt which has been ordered.

The county council's executive member for highways, transport and rural affairs, Stuart Pile, said: "With further freezing conditions on the way, we are doing all we can to keep the main routes through Herts clear. All this necessary activity is eating into our salt stocks."

Around 70 schools in the county have notified the county council that they will be closed today including Manland JMI and Roundwood Park in Harpenden and St Albans Girls School.

Refuse and recycling services in the St Albans district have once again been suspended and will not be going out today. A decision about tomorrow's collections will be made later today.

But Meals on Wheels are going out from the Jubilee Centre in St Albans with council contractors John O'Conner once again helping with deliveries where volunteers cannot get through.

First Capital Connect services on the Thameslink line are suffering some minor delays because of a 60mph speed limit between Bedford and St Albans because of the snowfall which was particularly heavy in Luton.

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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