COUNCIL bosses in Darlington have refuted accusations of being poorly prepared for the heavy snowfall in the town which brought traffic to a standstill.

Several hours of blizzards on Wednesday (February 13) left the town’s roads treacherous and caused headaches for drivers attempting to negotiate the end-of-day commute.

The town’s Victoria Road, part of the ring road, was one of the worst-affected areas, with vehicles struggling to grip the sloping carriageway, leading to staff from the nearby Sainsbury’s store rushing to help.

Darlington Borough Council, which is responsible for keeping the borough’s highways moving, said roads were gritted on Wednesday morning before the snow fell.

But readers commenting on the story on The Northern Echo’s website criticised the council for failing to keep traffic moving freely.

One commenter, Swissball, asked: “Where were the gritters? This has been forecast for days!”

Darlo resident chipped in: “Croft bank was lethal. Thanks to the guys who were scattering grit – I am sure they saved many shunts and bumps.”

Paul1963 said: “I don’t think any amount of grit would have stopped the gridlock in Darlington.

“It is like this in the middle of summer, it’s just poor traffic management.

“The gritters have been out all day, I’ve seen them.

“Putting loads of grit down has little or no more effect than putting a small amount down – it needs the traffic to work it in, so if the cars are at a standstill, it won’t work.”

Miketually asked: “How many of the people stuck in cars could have made the journey on foot?”

A council spokesman said: “"We plan ahead for when we will need to send our gritters out by using national and local weather data.

“We did grit priority routes on Wednesday (February 13) morning ahead of the predicted bad weather and sent our gritters out again mid-afternoon.

"The higher than usual volume of traffic at about 3pm on Wednesday did make it difficult for our gritters to get around the routes as quickly as we would have liked.

“However, all planned routes were covered by the gritters.”

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