Storm Eunice puts Hampshire Highways to the test

Hampshire County Council’s Highways Service has been working non-stop today, Friday 18 February, in the face of Storm Eunice. Crews will be continuing to respond to reports of fallen trees and debris on the county’s road network long into tonight and over the weekend (19 and 20 February)

Feb 18 2022

The County Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Lead Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “The efforts of our highways service have been nothing short of valiant, particularly as they had to work in such difficult conditions in the full force of Storm Eunice. We are very grateful to the frontline staff for their commitment, and on behalf of the County Council, I would also like to extend our thanks to the farmers and local community volunteers for their assistance to clear roads and keep Hampshire moving.”

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer who has responsibility for Highways Operations at the County Council, said: “The volume of reports of issues on our roads has been unprecedented. On the day of Storm Eunice, we have received over 1,000 reports of issues on our roads – double what would normally be expected for a typical weather event. By 5pm this evening, our highways crews had dealt with well over 600 tree related issues across the county. 
“However, we do not yet know the full picture. The impact of the very high winds has been felt keenly across the county and highways crews have found that in attending a report of a road blocked by a fallen tree, they often encountered numerous other tree falls on the way, adding extra work and some delay as a result.”

Salting difficulties

Road temperatures are set to drop to zero at around 05:00 hours tomorrow morning (Saturday 19 February). It is likely that some routes could still be blocked when the gritting lorries set out from 10pm tonight due to the volume of trees that have fallen on the network and are still to be cleared. 

Councillor Oppenheimer added: “Our gritting lorries may not be able to access every section of highway on the salting runs which means there could be some icy conditions in places in the morning. Therefore, motorists are warned that it may not have been possible to spread salt on some roads and so there could be some icy conditions. 

“In view of this, and wind speeds remaining high, under an Amber alert from 9pm, the advice remains that people should only travel if absolutely necessary.  If a journey is essential and cannot be postponed, people asked to please take extra care and be observant of the weather and road conditions when travelling.”

Priority is being given to keeping the main network clear. Fallen trees on residential roads will be moved but removal of the debris may follow some days later.
Hampshire Highways welcomes assistance from the public in identifying where there are issues on the county’s roads. Fallen trees on the network can be reported online

Outside of office hours, emergency issues can be reported by calling 101. However, in emergency situations where there is a danger to life, people are asked to call 999.