A1 in Northumberland reopens after snow drifts trap 200 motorists

The A1 between Alnwick and Berwick reopens - pictured at the Denwick flyover.
The A1 between Alnwick and Berwick reopens - pictured at the Denwick flyover.

The A1 was finally opened this morning (Saturday) after deep snow drifts made it impassable and police were forced to close it between Alnwick and Morpeth two days ago.

More than 200 stranded motorists had taken cover on Thursday night in emergency shelters along the closed stretch of road. Active Northumberland set up makeshift emergency shelters at the Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, Alnwick, and the Swan Centre, Berwick, while some were taken in by the Purdy Lodge, near Warenford, and the Lindisfarne Inn at Beal, among others.

Snowdrifts on the A1 between Berwick and Alnwick.

Snowdrifts on the A1 between Berwick and Alnwick.

Some motorists were stuck for nearly 72 hours.

Teams from the Highways Agency, Northumberland County Council and local farmers, supported by Northumbria Police, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumberland Mountain Rescue and others, worked through Thursday and Friday nights to clear drifts, which were 10ft high in places, and the road was declared open and safe for traffic to use, with care, at 8.27am today.

Northumbria Police had closed the 30-mile stretch of the A1, both northbound and southbound, at 11.30am on Thursday, tweeting: 'Due to the hazardous weather, the section of the A1 between Alnwick and Berwick will be closed while the snow is cleared. This is estimated to take around three hours. Cars already stuck in traffic will be guided off to either find an alternative route or wait at a service station area until the road reopens. Police are urging people not to travel if it is not essential.'

They tweeted again at 1.10pm on Thursday, urging motorists to avoid the A1: ‘We are still getting members of the public attempting to travel north on the A1. Avoid the area at all costs, the roads are extremely dangerous. All traffic is being diverted. The dangers of travelling in this weather are serious, if you don’t have to please stay where it is safe.’

Although the main north-south road through the county has opened, many other roads across the county remain dangerous or unpassable.