Road closures lifted for most areas after storms

The number of road closures across the region has been dramatically reduced following the storms.

The ‘Beast from the East’ combined with Storm Emma brought travel chaos to the region, with the heavy snowfall even closing the M62, leaving motorists stranded.

While Storm Emma brought gusts gauged at more than 90mph, which combined with the sub zero temperatures brought huge disruption to the power network.

The military was called in to work alongside emergency services to rescue motorists and those stranded in remote areas.

But as the bad weather retreats road closures are now being lifted after work carried out by the emergency services and partner agencies.

The A640 in Denshaw remains closed however.

Commuters are being advised to continue to plan their journeys in advance and take the weather into account.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “This has been an incredibly difficult week for anyone travelling in and out of Greater Manchester and, although we are not completely back to normality just yet, we are starting to see an improvement.

“There have been a number of road closures over the past few days which were put in place to ensure the safety of members of the public, as they were completely unusable due to the weather.

“Many of these have now been lifted, including the closure on the M62, which has probably been the most notable one and caused the most disruption.

“This truly has been a team effort from start to finish and we have been working closely alongside colleagues from the fire and ambulance services, Mountain Rescue, Highways England, multiple local authorities, the military, other police forces and volunteers. It has been a tremendous effort from all involved.

“I would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding whilst rescue efforts have been carried out. Their support has been fantastic and we have even had some very thoughtful people coming out to provide hot refreshments to officers working on the ground.

“This kind of generosity means a lot to us and helps make a difficult job that little bit easier which can make all the difference.

“Although the roads are starting to clear of snow in some areas, we are still experiencing very cold and icy conditions so I would continue to encourage people to please plan your journeys ahead of time and drive carefully.”

Motorway re-opened

The M62 between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire re-opened in the early hours of this morning and this trans-Pennine route is now fully open.

Once wind speeds dropped below 60mph and it was safe to do so, Highways England was able to reopen the road in both directions at 2.25am this morning.

Highways England has been constantly monitoring wind speeds over Rakewood viaduct since wind speeds peaked at 93mph on Thursday night. Crews of gritting teams have been spreading salt on the motorway to keep it free from ice so that the motorway was ready to be opened as soon as wind speeds allowed.

Andrew Charnick, Emergency Planning Manager at Highways England, said: “We’ve been working throughout the night to reopen the road as soon as it was safe to do so and we would like to thank drivers for their patience. The weather remains wintery over the Pennines and we ask drivers to take extra care and drive to the conditions.”

A video showing the conditions on the M62 on Thursday overnight is available here:

Power cuts

Electricity North West reports that its engineers have made great progress today, working with the emergency services and local authority partners to gain access to remote faults and restoring a further 600 customers across the region.

The region’s power network operator has now restored supplies to 22,600 properties in total across Greater Manchester, the Peak District, Cumbria and Lancashire.

Chris Fox, incident manager for Electricity North West said: “We’re pleased that our engineers have made really good progress today.  In total we have restored 22,600 customers with just over 400 properties remaining without supplies.

“Many properties that have been restored today have been in remote areas where access has been a significant problem for our teams.

“We’re grateful to the emergency services and local authority partners working through the local resilience forums, who have helped us to gain access to some hard to reach faults.”

If anyone hasn’t reported their power cut yet they should contact Electricity North West on 105, and also follow their updates on social media.

When all power cuts have been restored and the incident is over, Electricity North West will proactively notify customers who have been without electricity for more than 12 hours offering goodwill payments for the inconvenience of being without power.