Big thaw follows a nightmare night on the Bath area's roads
The big thaw was under way today after a truly horrific night on the Bath area's roads.
But the number of abandoned cars across the city, particularly on Bathwick Hill, means there are still problems this morning.
Last night buses became stuck all over the city, prompting people power rescue operations and forcing some passengers to walk several miles through the snow.
The fresh fall yesterday afternoon caused problems in virtually every corner of the city.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
At one point, there were said to be 20 buses queued up on Wellsway, where one had become stuck.
The problems were compounded further down the A367 at Dunkerton where more vehicles were stuck and mirrored in Bloomfield Road, Lansdown Road and Bathwick Hill.
Bus passengers heading for Peasedown and Radstock walked from Odd Down through the snow.
At the Royal United Hospital, some staff worked double shifts to cover for staff unable to get in.
Today, police warned that Lansdown Road remained hazardous around Julian Road.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is reporting that all the main routes should be safe, although smaller side roads remain untreated so drivers should use caution.
However, one of the biggest problems this morning seems to be the number of abandoned cars on the roads, with Bathwick Hill being one of the clogged routes causing trouble for motorists.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said there were around 30 abandoned vehicles on Bathwick Hill, including two in the middle of the road, so officers were trying to contact the owners to get them moved.
There had been conflicting reports that a bus had crashed on the hill, but police have said this is not the case.
People have been asked to avoid the area while the situation is being dealt with.
There are also reports of a broken down vehicle on Lansdown Hill, which is also causing delays.
A B&NES Council spokesman said they had done everything they could to keep traffic moving last night, including gritting runs on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
"The driving conditions late Tuesday afternoon and the evening were extremely challenging. Prior to the snowfall on Tuesday afternoon, the two gritting runs that were conducted on Monday night and Tuesday morning provided sufficient grit to keep the roads safe for users and double what was normally laid down. The highways team also tested the level of salt to ensure that it was sufficient to work properly. Our next gritting run took place at 6pm as planned to coincide with the heavier volume of traffic.
"Unfortunately, there were significant delays on some key routes due to buses that had jack-knifed, the very high volume of traffic on the road which went onto the network at the same time, and some vehicles were being abandoned.
"This meant our gritters had problems getting through to address some of the problems that were reported to us, particularly on slopes.
"All the gritting fleet was working and the teams did manage to get through and cleared the obstructions as fast as possible."
He added: "In order for grit to work, the action of passing traffic mixes the salt in with the snow and starts to turn it to a slush that passes through the highway drainage.
"It is for this reason that a 6pm gritting run took place to coincide with the traffic.
"Because of the lack of movement on the network due to these factors, a situation was created where the roads became slippery and drivers became frustrated.
"We understand the frustration that drivers must have felt and thank people for their patience during this difficult night.
"We tweeted updates throughout the evening and relayed concerns directly to the gritting team to assist them in identifying the most difficult situations."
First said most services were running normally this morning but diversions are in place on some routes and others are being assessed after a night in which it was forced to abandon large parts of its operations.
It said the sheer volume of traffic using main roads rather than short cuts had contributed to delays last night.
The affected routes this morning include the No 4 service between the city centre and Bathampton, which is using Down Lane rather than Holcombe Vale, the No 6/7, which is not running to Fairfield Park, the No 10, which is using Whiteway Road, The Hollow and Mount Road because it is unable to go down Sladebrook Road or Southdown Road, and the No 14/14a, which is not going down Bloomfield Drive and is going via Wells Road instead.
The vast majority of schools across the area have opened as usual this morning, although both The Link School and Three Ways School have delayed opening until 11.30am.
Oldfield School is closed today, except for exams, while St Stephen's Primary School, in Lansdown, has low staff numbers because of the weather so is asking parents to keep children at home where possible.
A number of school transport services have also been cancelled, including the C221H to Ralph Allen via Woolley and the C831L to St Gregory's Catholic College via Writhlington.
Sirona Care and Health has said it is putting into place emergency measures for community health and adult social services today.
The district nurses will be continuing with all urgent visits and will contact patients directly if they are unable to get there.
The Carrswood Centre, in Bath, and Connections, in Radstock, will be closed today, as will the Falls Clinic at St Martin's Hospital.
However, The Walk-in-Centre, in Bath, and the Minor Injuries Unit at Paulton Memorial Hospital will be open at normal times.
If people have concerns about whether they will be able to make an appointment they are being asked to call and rebook.
For further information about health services they should call St Martin’s Hospital on 01225 832383, Paulton Memorial Hospital on 01761 412315 or Keynsham Health Centre on 0117 461000.
by SybarTuesday commented on This is Bath last night: “Left bath spa station by car @ 1807 finally got home to PAJ @2200!! Wellsway was grid locked and took 3hours to get to the top where there was total chaos due to a bendy bus which had slidded and totallyblocked the road (why are these buses still allowed on Bath roads.)"
aurea_flamma posted on the site today: “Chalk and Cheese.
"Having travelled in from London to Bath Spa, I would just like to thank.......
"The taxi driver who charged me £3.30 to travel from the railway station to the bottom of a long since closed Wells Road, before saying he couldn't go further, and there were no other routes open £3.30 please sir! - Cheers!
"And as I walked the long cold route . . . the very kind couple who made the decision to drive out along the road looking to help people forced to walk, and very kindly gave me a lift.
"Thank you very, very, much!”