Gritting teams are out in force again today (Wed) after snow and sleet brought chaos to Huddersfield roads and the M62 yesterday (Tues).
Highways officials are monitoring weather forecasts for the rest of this week following massive delays on the motorway and major routes into and out of Huddersfield turned last night’s homebound commute into a slow crawl .
Kirklees Council said the mix of rain, sleet and snow had made things difficult for drivers and the gritters.
Drivers faced delays of up to three hours on the M62 yesterday and traffic was still slow moving at about 5mph by late evening. Traffic on main roads out of town – including Wakefield Road and Bradford Road – was also gridlocked.
A council spokesperson said 31 gritting crews were operating yesterday with three “full grits” taking place.
All 31 gritting teams were out again at 5am today.
The council said: “In the end, we had five teams out all night and at 5am all our fleet of 31 gritters went out and they are still out or in the process of refilling to go out again.”
But the spokesperson said the mix of rain, sleet and snow had hampered efforts last night.
“Grit mixes with surface moisture to lower the freezing point and help prevent ice from forming,” he said. “When there is this much water – rain, sleet, run off, puddles etc – it can wash the grit off or make it less effective. While we can plough snow, we can’t dry the roads.”
A spokesperson for Highways England said the Huddersfield section of the M62 had been particularly badly affected yesterday.
“There were a lot of issues for people trying to get off the motorway at the junctions,” she said. “Huddersfield was pretty much gridlocked. That had a big effect on the motorway network because people couldn’t get off the junctions.
“From junction 23 westwards the motorway is at its highest point and pretty exposed. We were gritting last night and into this morning.”
The spokesperson said the weather was expected to improve today, but said sleet was expected to return later. “We will continue to monitor the situation,” she said.
The Met Office is forecasting a cold and windy afternoon for Huddersfield with spells of sunshine and a scattering of wintry showers spreading in from the west. A cold night is in prospect with further wintry showers which will continue tomorrow.
Road surface temperatures will fall below freezing tonight and will behave erratically in any wintry showers.
A yellow warning for snow and ice is in force until Friday night.