Motorist aborts ‘nightmare’ journey to work as Eddie Stobart drivers rescue him on A500


Motorist Paul Shaw has told how he had to abort his attempts to get to work this morning – after enduring a ‘nightmare’ journey on North Staffordshire’s snow-hit roads.

The 40-year-old probation officer had set off from his Yarnfield home at 7am on the way to his Newcastle office.

But the A34 was ‘like a skating rink’, it took him an hour to get to Hanford roundabout, his BMW started to slide backwards on Clayton Road, and Eddie Stobart drivers had to come to his rescue.

Now Paul is calling on Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the Highways Agency to make sure the region’s roads are properly gritted in the future.

Paul said: “It was a nightmare. I live in Yarnfield. I work for the probation service and had to go to one of our offices in Newcastle. I set off but there had been no gritting in Yarnfield. I got on the A34 but it took me an hour to get to Hanford roundabout. There were quite a few vehicles on the road. The A34 was single-lane traffic and it was stop-start, stop-start because cars were just sliding all over the road.

Lorries struggled on the A500 this morning and Eddie Stobart drivers helped motorists who became stuck in the snow

“Further up the road, the articulated lorries were having difficulty. When I got to Hanford roundabout it was completely gridlocked so I decided to go on the A500 towards Hanchurch roundabout. I went up to Clayton Bank but my car struggled. My BMW is not ideal in this weather. Four or five cars were just abandoned.

“I managed to get it under control and get back on the A500 – and then I got stuck in the ice and snow.

“Had it not been for Eddie Stobart drivers pushing me I would probably still be there.

“I got off the A500 at Hanford and went back home. I had given up because it was a nightmare. It is very frustrating as my job does not allow me to work from home.  

“The truck drivers were a godsend. If it had not been for them a lot of people would have been stuck and would still be there.

“It is appalling. It is every year. The councils have the weather information. They are always caught short. The roads are horrific in this weather.”

It is estimated that three-inches of snow fell across North Staffordshire overnight and the sheer volume was not forecast. The lack of vehicles on the roads – caused by the Bank Holiday and the coronavirus restrictions – also contributed to the tricky conditions.

A city council spokesman said: “Our crews have been out constantly since 5am. They will have completed seven runs by midnight, meaning all main roads in the city will have been gritted seven times by the end of today. They have been spreading 20 grams of salt each time, which is double the usual amount.

“It is reported to be freezing again from 6pm today, and 1.6cm of snow is forecast overnight. The preparations we are putting in place are in response to that, and we will continue to monitor conditions if this changes.

“We urge people to please be extremely careful if they are outdoors and to only travel if they need to. It is important to stress that salt is only effective when it is ground into the road surface and to do this vehicles need to travel over it.”

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The county council has more than 40 gritters.

Councillor David Williams, cabinet member for highways, said: “Our gritting crews always do a fantastic job, working in very difficult conditions to help people who do need to drive get to where they need to go safely

“This year is very different and the combination of the Bank Holiday today and the Covid Tier 3 restrictions means more people are staying at home.

“The grit also needs traffic to travel over it to work effectively, which means on a quieter day like today, snow and ice can be lying for some time.”





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