City council ‘in control’ as blizzards hit

Heavy snow at the bypass. Picture: Neil Hanna
Heavy snow at the bypass. Picture: Neil Hanna
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CITY chiefs today insisted they were in control as blizzards took the Capital by storm.

Roads and pavements were under a four-inch blanket of snow in some parts of the Lothians, causing disruption for frustrated motorists and commuters.

Cars got stuck on the A70 Edinburgh to Lanark road and poor visibility was reported on the bypass around Lothianburn in blizzard conditions.

But elsewhere most roads were passable with care and schools remained open although headteachers in rural areas were given authority to close if conditions worsened.

The city council’s 21 gritters and 20 mini-tractors were out through the night treating all main routes as the freezing conditions gripped.

The Met Office today said the severe weather warning will remain in place until at least this evening.

Further snow – even an inch or so at sea level – is predicted for the Lothians area, with heaver falls and drifting in more exposed areas.

Council transport chiefs were last week forced to defend their gritting strategy after rush-hour snow left thousands facing traffic misery across the region.

Key arterial routes including the City Bypass, Queensferry Road and the M8 all ground to a halt on the back of heavy snowfalls as motorists complained of ungritted roads and reported delays of more than an hour.

But environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds insisted council teams would remain on top of any problems this time round.

She said: “Our gritting teams will work round the clock to help keep the city moving whatever the weather brings over the next few days.

“Residents can keep up to date with any developments through the our website, Twitter and Facebook page. We would also encourage everyone to take extra care on the roads.”

Further snow storms are expected throughout today, but forecasters said spring weather was just around the corner.

Billy Payne, a forecaster with Meteogroup, said: “The east of Scotland and Edinburgh in particular are to be worst hit. The heaviest dumping was expected this morning but further snow storms are expected throughout the day.

“The Capital could have up to 8cm lying by midday in the highest parts – it should play hell with those looking to commute or travel anywhere. I’d expect to see two days of disruption as a result of these snow storms.

“You do often get snow in March but it’s quite unusual to see so much of it.

“Hopefully this will be the last of it before spring.”

Commuters have been urged to pay attention to travel updates and advice throughout today and tomorrow.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “The next 24-48 hours look set to be challenging for our transport networks, commuters and the public.

“We are already doing all we can to ensure Scotland is prepared for disruption. Drivers can play their part by planning journeys in advance and using other forms of transport where available.

“Check all lights to ensure that they are clean and in good working order and use dipped headlights instead of sidelights.

“This ensures good visibility to the front of the vehicle and makes your vehicle visible to other road users.

“Don’t drive away until windows have been properly cleared of ice and mist.