Snow forces closure of Cumbria roads and schools

A66, Cumbria
Image caption The A66 reopened about 11:30 GMT after being closed in both directions between Brough and Bowes

Snow has closed major roads and a number of schools in Cumbria.

The A6 between Kendal and Shap was closed after several vehicles were stranded overnight, with Kirkstone Pass and the A66 between Brough and Bowes also shut.

Traffic through Carlisle has been badly affected with patches of black ice affecting roads.

Almost 30 schools across the county were forced to close because of the severe weather.

Karl Melville, a highways and transport manager for Cumbria County Council, said 31 gritters had been deployed overnight in the east side of the county, concentrating on an area from Keswick to Penrith.

About 6ins of snow fell in Alston.

Image caption Snow ploughs have been clearing roads including the A66
Image caption The snow gates on the A66 at Brough were closed following heavy snowfall

The A66 at Stainmore had reopened by 11:30 GMT while the M6 between Kendal and Penrith was reduced to one lane in places.

The county council said it had gritted all priority one and two routes in Carlisle twice overnight but heavy snowfall at 07:00 GMT laid on top of the salt.

"There was not enough commuter traffic to grind the snow and salt together before vehicles began sliding," a spokesman said.

There have been long delays and a number of collisions on roads into the city.

Councillor Keith Little, cabinet member for highways, described it as "the harshest conditions so far this winter".

Cumbria Police advised motorists to travel "only if necessary as road conditions continue to deteriorate".

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