Red alert: Eunice closes bridges and roads

18/02/2022
Chris Ames

National Highways closed major bridges and a number of roads on the strategic network on Friday morning, while the RAC warned drivers against making unnecessary journeys.

A red (danger to life) Met Office warning covering much of South West England and South Wales came into force at 7am on Friday, with another red warning for the South East starting at 10am.

The warnings mean the public should expect that roads, bridges and railway lines will be closed, with delays and cancellations to bus, train, ferry services and flights.

Amber and Yellow warnings covering other parts of the UK were issued for Friday.

National Highways issued its own red alerts and advised drivers to ‘take care and be prepared for strong gales’.

It advised motorists, particularly those driving high-sided HGVS, caravans and motorcycles, to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys and pay particular attention to exposed locations such as coastal and high lying areas and bridges which could be affected by the high winds.

The government-owned company closed the Queen Elizabeth II bridge at the Dartford Crossing on Friday morning, implementing a contraflow whereby southbound traffic is diverted via the east tunnel with the west tunnel remaining open to northbound traffic.

The Orwell Bridge near Ipswich was also closed, as was the M48 Severn Bridge. National Highways said it also expected to have to close the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge on Friday morning.

A number of roads were also closed, including the A66 between the M6 and the A1(M).

National Highways head of service delivery Sean Martell said: ‘We’re encouraging drivers to check the latest weather and travel conditions before setting off on journeys and consider if their journey is necessary and can be delayed until conditions improve. If you do intend to travel, then plan your trip and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey.’

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: ‘With a rare red weather warning for extreme winds in place tomorrow, safety on the roads will be paramount. It’s vitally important drivers don’t set out during Storm Eunice unless it can’t be avoided. It might be better to make trips today or delay them until the worst of the storm has passed.

'Drivers who make unnecessary journeys risk putting themselves and their passengers in danger, as well as the lives of anyone who may need to help them should something unwanted happen.

‘People who can work from home tomorrow should definitely do so, and we also urge people not to be tempted to drive to the coast to take photos of the extreme conditions.’

Live updates for the strategic road network are available at nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/travel-alerts.

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