Severn Crossings closed

There are two bridges across the River Severn, connecting England and South Wales. One is only about fifteen years old, the other just over fifty years old and I’ve travelled on both of them a number of times, especially since living in Cardiff. The first bridge fairly regularly closes due to adverse weather conditions (e.g. high winds) as the road is relatively narrow and exposed to the elements. I’ve never known the second, newer bridge to close for bad weather and yet, this morning, both bridges were shut. Not directly because of the snowfall, but because large (up to a metre squared) pieces of ice were falling off the gantries and five or six cars had their windscreens smashed as a result of these huge pieces of falling ice. You can see a BBC news article about it here, which includes some scary video filmed by the Severn River Crossing PLC, showing large pieces of ice crashing down onto a mercifully empty road.

The first bridge (on the M48 ) re-opened later today, although the newer bridge remains closed due to the snowfall. I’m not sure if it’s because fresh snow fell or due to the further risk of ice falling from gantries. Motorists had to take a near hundred mile detour to rejoin their previous route. Some members of my family were travelling to Brighton today, and instead of the normal three-ish hour journey, it took them seven and a half hours! Bless them! But as frustrating as that must have been for them, imagine how scared the drivers must have been who were actually on the bridge when the ice began to fall. Thankfully there were no injuries as a result of the ice damaging the cars, but there could all too easily have been tragedy today.

I’m glad that I haven’t had to drive anywhere outside the city boundaries this week; and I’m also thankful that GG doesn’t have to drive for a living. I would have been constantly worrying about him this week. I’ve not told her this, but I’ve been keeping an eye on the state of the roads up to the farm and worrying for Jo, having to drive back and forth each day.

Anyway, I’m having a home day tomorrow, so the weather can throw whatever it likes at me! Apparently we have more snow forecast for Sunday here, which is concerning as this weekend will be very cold, so the snow will be falling on ice. Add to that the shortage of road grit currently being experienced by the local authorities, and the potential for some scary road conditions ensues. Hmm. Snow is very pretty to look at, but until Britain reaches the capacity of Sweden or Norway to deal with it, maybe I’d better grow up a little and hope for it all to melt ASAP!

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4 Responses

  1. I was amazed when I heard about this from my Mum – it was so lucky that no-one was hurt.

  2. Snowing hard here again now….

  3. My family members are travelling home today (along the M4) so I’m keeping a close (and fairly anxious!) eye on the weather for the whole region. I’m hoping that the worst of the snow will hold off until they’re home.

  4. Well the snow never turned up, did it? I’m hoping for sun, fed up with rain, and the chickens are starting to get quite muddy.

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