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Travel proves tough as winter arrives
1:00pm Sunday 27th January 2013 in Andover
TRAVEL proved to be one of the biggest headaches for those who had to be out and about during the Friday snowstorm.
Many roads around Andover were only passable with extreme care, while some rural routes and even the A303 trunk road had to be closed for a time.
Several vehicles abandoned near Picket Twenty at the height of the blizzard on Friday were still awaiting collection on Monday.
Weather recorder Trevor Wheeler said: “Here at Hurstbourne Tarrant on Friday the snow depth was 11cm, which proved to be the heaviest snowfall for a January day since 17 January 1985 when a fall of 15cm was measured.”
Many shops and businesses in Andover closed early on Friday to enable people to get home in daylight.
The situation improved quite quickly and all routes were open and traffic was running freely over the weekend after snow ploughs were deployed to clear roads of snow by highways teams.
Schools closed on Friday and some kept their doors shut or open late on Monday, with authorities worried about the safety of staff and students.
Around 100 farmers were called on to help with snow-clearing work on rural roads, including some in the Andover area.
Over a four-day period after Friday, Hampshire County Council spread 14,000 tons of salt on the county’s roads, not including salt from community salt bins.
Round the clock salting was carried out to help prevent ice developing on road surfaces.
By 8am on Monday, Priority 1 routes (which carry 85 per cent of the county’s traffic) had been treated 11 times since Thursday evening.
Rail travellers were treated to a poorer service through Andover as South West Trains operated an adverse weather timetable which halved services to one train an hour between Friday and Monday – while those left waiting on the platforms after 4pm were locked out of the newly refurbished waiting rooms.