More than 300 collisions on Sussex roads during heavy snowfall

St Helens Road, Hastings, pictured around 9pm Monday evening. Rush hour drivers were still trying to get home up until around 10.30pm. 11/3/13
St Helens Road, Hastings, pictured around 9pm Monday evening. Rush hour drivers were still trying to get home up until around 10.30pm. 11/3/13

Sussex Police have warned to only travel across the county today if necessary after the heavy snowfall caused chaos on the roads.

In the last 24 hours, police attended more than 300 collisions across the county. No-one suffered any life threatening injuries.

Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas from the Road Policing Unit said: “The conditions meant there was a significant demand on our resources last night and we were stretched to capacity.

“Today is going to be about helping recover vehicles as many people fell asleep in their cars or abandoned them so even when the roads did become clearer they were still blocked by many vehicles.

“We will be assisting the Highways and other partner agencies to recover these vehicles.

“Although the conditions have inproved slightly, we are asking people to not make any journeys unless they are essential.”

The A259 Eastbourne Road in East Dean is closed both ways between Seaford and B2103 Warren Hill because of hazardous driving conditions in both directions between the Seaford junction and Eastbourne.

The Jevington Road at Jevington is partially blocked at the Jevington junction because of snow and abandoned vehicles.

On Twitter, Eastbourne Police posted that too many cars were driving without the car completely cleared of snow. They urged motorists to completely clear their vehicles of snow before starting their journey.

There were two abandoned cars outside KFC on Lottbridge Drove after reports of four foot snow drifts covering one lane southbound

East Sussex County Council said its gritters used 1,000 tonnes of salt last night. They were sending 21 teams out again this morning gritting town centres by hand.

Roads and pavements around Eastbourne were tricky this morning. The Arndale Centre car park was closed for safety purposes but the Junction Road car park remained open.

The Highways Agency said it had been working through the night in Sussex and Kent to cope with the heavy snow and strong winds.

“We treated our roads continually throughout the afternoon and during the night, but a large number of incidents, including heavy goods vehicles breaking down on hills caused closures at several locations,” said the Highways Agency. “As a result, a number of our salt spreaders and recovery vehicles then became caught in the traffic.”

They reported that strong winds, gusting at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, created snow drifts of up to a metre in height, in many cases blowing snow back onto the carriageway as soon as it had been cleared.

The Met Office is forecasting heavy snow will continue this morning throughout Sussex and Kent, and gritting crews will continue to work throughout the day.

They are advising traffic heading north from the Dover Ports to take the M20 London bound and avoid the A2, and traffic heading in and around West Sussex especially on the A23 and M23 are also advised to avoid the areas if possible.

“We are expecting that these disruptive weather conditions are likely to continue to cause problems well into the morning rush hour,” added the Highways Agency in a statement.

Snow and freezing conditions has caused problems on the railways this morning, with trains delayed to and from Eastbourne this morning.

Last night, scores of pupils from St Richard’s School in Bexhill bound for Eastbourne were left stranded for an hour on the platform because of a cancelled train.