|Lancashire County Council Gritters. Image courtesy Lancashire County Council|
Drivers are advised to take extra care on the North West’s road network from Wednesday morning, with wind speeds expected to reach 70mph.
The Highways Agency has issued a severe weather alert for gales from 8.00am on Wednesday 10th December until 9am on Thursday 11th December. Gusts of over 50mph are expected along the coast and over the Pennines from sunrise on Wednesday, with winds strengthening throughout the morning up to 70mph.
Hail, sleet and snow showers are also forecast, especially over the higher Pennine routes, where drivers can expect blizzard conditions. Visibility will be significantly reduced during the showers and also from the spray.
Andrew Olive, winter services manager at the Highways Agency, said:
“We’re expecting high winds across the region from Wednesday morning so we’re urging motorists to allow extra time for their journeys and to drive at appropriate speeds.
“If your journey isn’t essential then it may be better to travel at a different time, especially if you’re driving a lorry, caravan or motorbike as these vehicles are particularly vulnerable in high winds.
“Drivers should also check fuel and fluid levels, electrics and tyres before setting off to make sure their vehicles are as safe as possible.”
There is a particularly high risk that high-sided vehicles, caravans and motorbikes could be blown over in the strong winds. Drivers of these kinds of vehicles are strongly advised to avoid the following roads if at all possible:
- M53 Junction 1 Wallasey to Junction 2 Birkenhead
- M56 Junction 12 Runcorn
- M6 Junction 20 Lymm to Junction 21 Warrington (Thelwall Viaduct)
- M6 Junction 26 (M58 Interchange) to Junction 27 Standish
- M6 Junction 36 Kirkby Lonsdale to Junction 45 Gretna
- M60 Junction 16 Swinton to Junction 17 Whitefield
- M62 Junction 18 (M60/M66 Interchange) Manchester to Junction 27 (M621 Interchange) Leeds
- M61 Junction 9 / M65 Junction 1 Interchange Blackburn
- M65 Junction 3 to Junction 4 Blackburn
Road users should check their journeys before they travel by listening to traffic bulletins on the radio, visiting www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or calling the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000. Winter driving advice and information is available at www.metoffice.gov.uk/winterhighways, alongside weather information and traffic updates.
Regular winter updates will also be available via the Agency’s winter social media channels, www.facebook.com/winterhighways and https://twitter.com/winterhighways