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Wintry weather leads to dangerous conditions and road closures in north and north-east

Snow drifts and wind conditions on roads across the north and north-east are causing chaos for drivers, with a number of closures in place and public transport cancelled.

Police are dealing with a number of incidents across the area amid reports of vehicles leaving the road or getting stuck.

Current government guidance asks people to only travel if they have an essential reason.


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Pictures by JASON HEDGES<br />12.02.2021<br />Snow drifts and high winds cause chaos on the A98 Fochabers to Cullen section.

The road problems have reached the extent that police have urged people from other parts of the country not to travel to the north-east.

The A96 between Huntly and Inverurie has been closed, after the section between Huntly and Keith was previously cleared by a team from road maintenance body Bear Scotland.

The A95 between Aberlour and Craigellachie is currently closed in both directions due to a lorry which became stuck at around 7.35am, with Traffic Scotland urging drivers who are making an essential journey to seek an alternative route.

Among the other roads currently closed in Aberdeenshire are the B993, between Torphins and the B9119 Bandoodle Crossroads, and the B9119 itself, between the A980 Crossroads Hotel and the U42M Tullochvenus crossroads.

Drifting snow has also caused the A98 to be shut between the B9031 Coast Road and the B9105 at New Byth, along with the A97 between Rhynie and Lumsden and the B9030 between Auchnagatt and Stuartfield.

Concern over the roads in Macduff has led to the decision to close the coronavirus vaccination clinic there early, at 5pm.

North-east vaccination clinic to close early amid concern over weather conditions

Aberdeen City Council has shut the Kingswells to Newhills road, and urged anyone concerned about reaching their vaccine appointment to call THInC on 01467 536111 or email travel@thinc-hub.org

The B9029 between Maud and Old Deer has been closed, with a stuck HGV rendering it impassable.

In addition to the closed roads, police have warned drivers to avoid the A98 between Fraserburgh and Banff and the A950 between Peterhead and Mintlaw due to the weather conditions.

Drivers are also being asked to take care on the A944 between the AWPR and Westhill, and on the Bucksburn to Newhills road.

On the A950 between Mintlaw and Longside, snow has been drifting across both lanes this morning, with one vehicle having gone off the road – however, it remains open, with the police saying it is “driveable” with care.

All lanes of the Kessock Bridge in Inverness are currently restricted in both directions due to the weather.

Public transport has also seen significant disruption, with Northlink Ferries cancelling a sailing from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, another from Lerwick to Aberdeen, and all journeys in the Pentland Firth.

The ferry operator has also warned that a number of trips tomorrow have a high risk of cancellation.

ScotRail has said that due to a number of road closures, their rail replacement buses between Arbroath and Stonehaven can no longer run, and people should delay their travel plans.

They gave a similar message to anyone wishing to travel between Wick/Thurso and Ardgay, with the line closed due to severe weather.

Adverse weather conditions have lead to the cancellation or alteration of a number of Stagecoach routes in the north-east, including:

  • Number 205 around Banchory, which will not be running until further notice.
  • Number 201 between Ballater and Braemar, which will not operate and will not serve Glassel, Torphins or Tarland, nor Raemoir Road, Woodside Road or Arbeadie Road in Banchory.
  • Number 37 between Inverurie and Aberdeen, which will not serve Gauchill Road, Hallforest Avenue and Forest Road in Kintore, nor Brandsbutt or Bainzie Road in Inverurie.
  • Numbers 291 and 290 between Methlick and Aberdeen, which will terminate in Pitmedden.
  • Number 35 between Macduff and Aberdeen, which will not be running.
  • Number 68 between Aberdeen and Ellon, which will not serve Foveran, New Leeds, Mintlaw, Fetterangus or Toll of Birness and will instead divert via Peterhead to Aberdeen.
  • Number 69 between Fraserburgh and St Combs, which has been suspended.
  • Number 66 between Stuartfield and Peterhead, with services unable to run to Mintlaw, Stuartfield or Maud.
  • No services will go to Newburgh and Balmedie until further notice.

Residents on Orkney are also being urged to stay indoors unless a journey is absolutely essential.

The islands are experiencing similar conditions as the mainland with “snow plough and gritter crews often fighting a losing battle to keep roads open in many areas,” Orkney Council said.

NHS Orkney is also advised people due to receive their Covid vaccination at The Balfour today only travel to their appointment if it is safe to do so.

Chief Inspector Matt Webb, Police Scotland area commander for Orkney, said: “I would re-enforce both messages. People living close to the hospital may well wish to travel there for their vaccinations if they can do this safely.

“But travel by road should only be undertaken in an emergency or for the most essential reasons for those living in most other areas of Orkney. Conditions on most roads are among the worst we have seen for many years. If your journey isn’t necessary don’t put yourself and others at risk.”

John Wrigley, OIC’s roads and environmental services manager, added: “Our snow plough and gritter crews are concentrating their efforts, as they have been for many hours now, on the main Priority 1 routes and they will continue to do this until 6pm this evening.

“They are doing their utmost to keep these roads open, but it is a near impossible task at times – with more than a week’s worth of snow having built up on surrounding fields. As the winds pick up this is being blown on to the roads and collecting again as soon as they’ve been cleared.

“Our crews are facing up to four feet high walls of snow across some of the main roads on Orkney mainland. Drivers can expect to encounter serious problems and blocked roads wherever they travel – our clear message to folk is to stay safe by staying at home unless there’s an absolutely essential reason for your journey.

“Please say off the roads if you can – and help us keep them open for anyone who needs to travel in an emergency or for vital reasons.”

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