Snow brings chaos to Lancashire

A picture taken by a LEP reader of gridlocked traffic on the M61 on Friday night
A picture taken by a LEP reader of gridlocked traffic on the M61 on Friday night
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Heavy snowfall caused chaos for motorists who were stranded for hours in their cars on motorways.

The Highways Agency closed the M6 motorway overnight in both directions between junctions 25 and 27 near Wigan, after vehicles became stuck in the snow.

Officials said there was a sudden burst of more than a foot of snow at around 8.30pm.

The M58 and M56 were also blocked and drivers who could leave the motorways were forced to take to gridlocked local roads.

Heavy congestion was also experienced on the M61, with long delays from Manchester, and the M65, from Blackburn.

Lancashire Police said the motorway was moving again this morning, but north and south carriageways remained heavily congested with long tailbacks.

Police set up a command centre at Charnock Services, where officers collected hot drinks for people who were stuck.

At 3am, Lancashire Police tweeted: “Be reassured, we’re doing all we can to get things moving again.

“There’s been up to a foot of snow on some parts of the motorway but the snow ploughs are doing their best to shift it.”

One man had to be taken to hospital after becoming ill in his car.

Some stranded drivers passed the time with snowball fights and building snowmen, but others abandoned their vehicles completely.

A number of cars and lorries broke down on the M6, with police and mountain rescue teams helping to move the vehicles and try and clear space for Highways Agency snow ploughs to work their way up the highway.

A spokesman for the agency urged those who had abandoned their cars to return to them as soon as possible.

He said: “The snowfall was very sudden and very heavy - over a foot in some places - causing cars to become stranded.

“But we have managed to get through the traffic and clear most routes to get people moving again.

“We are urging those who have abandoned their cars to collect, all we can do is move them to the side for now but it makes it difficult to clear routes.

“With the rain falling and ice melting onto very cold road surfaces, we are now warning drivers of the danger of ice.”

David Morris, the Conservative MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, was stuck on the M6 for more than three hours.

He said the snow “came from nowhere”.

He told Sky News: “We’ve ground to a halt on both sides. Nothing is really moving.

“But the emergency services have been fantastic and are doing the best for us, and everyone is in good spirits

“I’ve just seen a snowball fight and the man next door to me has built a snowman on top of his car roof - it’s very surreal.”