Snow expected to cause widespread travel disruption

 

TRANSPORT:WIDESPREAD DISRUPTION to air, sea and road travel was expected today as further sleet and snow added to difficulties caused by sub-zero temperatures overnight and yesterday’s heavy snowfalls, particularly in the east of the county.

In Dublin overnight ice is expected to make driving conditions hazardous and Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus crews will be on the roads after 4am assessing routes individually.

Bus Éireann said it could not bring buses on to the roads where it was unsafe to do so, while Dublin Bus cancelled all services starting after 8pm last night due to poor road conditions. Both companies said a decision on services today would await the outcome of the effectiveness of the spreading of salt on roads.

Bus Éireann said the worst affected areas were likely to be the northeast, southeast and Donegal, while Dublin Bus said areas in the foothills of the mountains around Sandyford, Glencullen, Enniskerry and Firhouse would probably suffer severe disruption or loss of service.

The National Roads Authority said half of its stockpile of 80,000 tonnes of salt had already been used. Dublin City Council said it was considering rationing its use of salt if conditions did not improve over the next week.

Fast ferries on the Irish Sea are also in serious doubt today but ferry operators said conventional vessels were expected to travel. Passengers were advised to check the company websites.

Dublin airport, which was closed from about 2.30pm to 6.45pm yesterday, said snow and ice clearing teams were working round the clock to clear the main runway, taxiways and associated areas.

A spokesman said predictions for today were difficult as the weather, particularly sudden snowfalls, was unpredictable.

Irish Rail expects to run a full service with the exception of Dunboyne trains terminating at Connolly Station instead of Docklands. The company said this was to free up staff to fix points affected by ice and snow. Weather problems were expected to be responsible for some delays but the company said it expected all services to run.

In Dublin and other parts of the east coast commuters faced delays and journeys of several hours to get home last night as snow fell almost continually throughout the day.

Because of the problems in the greater Dublin area a co-ordinated response has been put in place by the seven regional local authorities, the Health Service Executive, the Garda and Defence Forces in accordance with the major emergency framework.

The response was centred in the traffic control centre of the Civic Offices in Wood Quay.

Motorists were advised not to undertake journeys unless absolutely necessary.

AA Roadwatch said fresh and compacted snow was a major problem in the Leinster and southeastern regions, with icy stretches in the southwest, west and northwest.

Areas around Tullow and Bagenalstown in Co Carlow and Thomastown in Co Kilkenny were declared dangerous yesterday and gardaí were advising against unnecessary journeys.

Motorists travelling on the N2 Dublin/Monaghan Road through Co Meath were advised that the road through Slane and also through Collon in Co Louth may be impassible again today.

The Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap remained impassable and there were extremely icy conditions along the N11 through Wicklow.

TRAVEL  AT A GLANCE

Bus Eireann will post information on routes on www.buseireann.ie

Iarnrod Eireann anticipates some delays. www.irishrail.ie

Dublin Bus will inspect roads from early morning. www.dublinbus.ie

Dublin Airport Authority is working to keep runways open. Information on Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports at www.daa.ie

Fast ferries are expected to be disrupted on the Irish Sea. www.irishferries.ie and www.stenaline.ie

AA Roadwatch is continuously updating information on www.aaroadwatch.ie