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The day the county ground to a standstill

The day the county ground to a standstill

SNOW LATEST:  The day the county ground to a standstill

SNOW LATEST: The day the county ground to a standstill

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

DORSET and New Forest roads turned to chaos yesterday after another wave of ice and snow hit the region - with more possible today.

Gritters stuck to main roads in a bid to keep the area moving, but there were dozens of accidents.

The A350 was very icy; several cars left the road and two articulated lorries got stuck.

Police closed off hilly areas around Ashley Cross due to the ice and snow.

Alder Road in Poole was just passable, while Ashley Road was blocked after buses got stuck.

A lorry jack-knifed outside Poole Grammar School and another was reported stuck near the Bear Cross roundabout.

The A31 at Sturminster Marshall was also barely passable. By mid-morning Bournemouth was gridlocked by icy roads.

Around two inches of snow caused treacherous conditions on Purbeck roads.

Cars and HGVs were reported stuck in snow between Woodbury Cross and Bloxworth.

Adastral Road in Poole was closed due to stranded buses - which led Wilts and Dorset to suspend services - and roads in Corfe Mullen were also dangerous.

The A37 Dorchester to Yeovil road and the A354 from Dorchester to Weymouth Ridgeway were shut as well as the A35 at Bere Regis.

By mid-morning 100 cars were stranded on the Puddletown by-pass.

There were several accidents in the New Forest, including one at Everton near Lymington where a Renault saloon partly demolished a bus shelter on the A337. A few hundred yards to the west a Ford Escort driver had come to grief in a ditch.

A car was left with a buckled wheel after a crash on Matchams Lane at around 1.30pm.

South West Trains ran a revised timetable on Monday and will do on Tuesday. Bournemouth Airport was closed until around 3.30pm.

Passengers boarded their Thomson flight to Las Palmas around 3.30pm but an EasyJet flight to Geneva was cancelled.

One commuter from Poole, Debbie Lamb, said: "My journey took about an hour from Branksome to the centre of Bournemouth, normally a journey of about 15 mins."

Keith Freeman, from Southbourne, said: "Traffic was barely moving in places, particularly in Iford Lane and on the Wessex Way. There were also a couple of broken down vehicles getting in people's way."

William Brewer added: "It took me more than two hours to get from Poole to Bournemouth.

"There were long queues around the Civic Centre roundabout in Poole, and Ashley Cross was pretty icy."

Nikki West spent three and a half hours driving to work in Bournemouth from Wareham. She said: "Wareham was completely white, you couldn't see the road. But we're all used to driving with ice out that way, so it wasn't too bad.

"The A35 dual carriageway was covered, and from Canford Heath onwards it was pretty much a standstill."

The A350 between Upton and Sturminster Marshall was in a terrible condition yesterday morning and did not appear to have been gritted.

The Echo helped push a builders' van out of a ditch on Beacon Hill, where the peak was sheer ice, and traffic came to a standstill.

One of the men said: "We had been overtaking people who had stopped then we just felt it skid and go."

Two other cars got stuck in the next 20 minutes on the same stretch, and two articulated lorries and a bus had already been helped out.

Shane Hansford, 16, was using his tractor to pull cars up the hill, said: "I've never seen the road like this."

Police had blocked the road off by around 12noon at the Sturminster Marshall roundabout.

A traffic officer, walking up to a lorry stranded in a ditch near Old Market Road, said: "I can't comment on how many crashes we've had because they are coming in thick and fast."

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