Belfast Telegraph

Bogged down in a blizzard of misery

By Sara Smyth

Misery and chaos ruled the roads on Monday night as people struggled to get home in extremely adverse driving conditions.

Despite the Met Office issuing warnings for heavy snow in many parts — particularly in counties Down and Antrim — motorists appeared to be unprepared for exactly how serious it would be.

Some people were stuck in their cars for up to five hours as they struggled to make their way home.

Abandoned vehicles and collisions added to the gridlock on many roads.

A stranded lorry led to the M1 westbound in Belfast being closed at Stockman's Lane and Black's Road.

The Westlink was also at a total standstill for several hours.

Some roads were closed because of poor driving conditions, such as the Ballygowan Road at the Upper Braniel Junction and Holywood's Church Road.

Two broken down vehicles at the Malone Road House of Sport roundabout on the outskirts of south Belfast added to delays for motorists.

Dangerous driving conditions were also reported in Hannahstown in west Belfast and Translink suspended its services for the whole west of the city.

Treacherous driving conditions were reported over Spelga in the Mournes and a number of minor roads were closed in Banbridge.

Lisburn was particularly affected because of very heavy snowfalls.

John Adams was forced to spend the night in a hotel after exhausting all methods to get home from Belfast to Lisburn — a distance of just 10 miles usually covered in around 30 minutes even in heavy traffic.

“I left work at 6.30pm and was still driving at 10.30pm.

“I tried all routes to get to Lisburn — the M1, the Falls Road, the Donegall Road, Boucher Road and then the outer ring.

“I am heading back into Belfast now to get a hotel room because I am exhausted and starving.

“I have witnessed so many minor collisions tonight and cars not being able to get up even the slightest of inclines.

“This is the worst I have ever seen it. I don't think anybody could have predicted conditions would be this bad,” he said.

Another woman took four hours to get from north Belfast to Lisburn and said she couldn’t believe it had taken her so long to travel such a short distance.

“I’m almost out of petrol, and well out of patience, hungry and tired,” she said.

It took photographer Brian Thompson almost two hours to get from the city centre to Dunmurry. “I should have taken my bike,” he said.

It was also being reported that some motorists in rear-wheel drive cars had been caught out by the snow, leading some to be abandoned

The weather conditions seem to be paralysing some areas, while others are relatively unaffected.

Places which bore the brunt of the heavy snowfall on Friday got off easy on Monday night.

One man who lives in hilly north Belfast said he was surprised at how little snow there was compared with other areas.

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