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Kent snow: Roads reopen after night of chaos

By Geoffrey Bew

Kent's main roads have reopened after a night of snow chaos that left people stranded in their vehicles for hours.

Key routes including the M2, A249, A21 and A2 experienced huge delays as ice and snow led to treacherous driving conditions.

Blue Bell Hill was closed in both directions with vehicles abandoned along the route.

Snow on Blue Bell Hill (6927398)
Snow on Blue Bell Hill (6927398)

Kent Police said they had an 'incredibly busy night' dealing with crashes, with some caused by people driving the wrong way.

Dozens of drivers have contacted to KentOnline to tell of their experiences and ask questions about why large parts of the county ground to a halt.

Most roads reopened overnight, although Walderslade Woods Road remains shut because of the number of fallen trees.

Sandra Mcgowan told KentOnline: "Just came back from Canterbury which was clear to havoc in Walderslade. It is actually really bad. Loads of accidents causing tailbacks on M2/A2 coastbound. Viability was very poor. Not exaggerated at all this time."

Catharine Rotherham tweeted during the chaos: "My partner has been stuck on Detling Hill #A249 since 7pm please please please can you tell me what is going on as people do not have any food, drink and fuel and it is freezing! Were going to turn round 3 hours ago!"

KM political editor Paul Francis was trapped for more than five ours after leaving the KMTV studio in Medway.

He said: "I'm sure there'll be an explanation but expect a few questions will be posed about KCC's gritting schedule after tonight's chaos."

A Kent County Council spokesman said: "Last night’s sudden and heavy snowfall was not forecast.

"The heavy rain washed away the grit on the roads and then turned to snow within 20 minutes.

"Unfortunately this sudden and unexpected snowfall came at the peak of the rush hour.

"Gritters were dispatched immediately but had difficulty reaching the worst affected areas due to the number of abandoned vehicles and, in some places, fallen trees.

"The highways teams worked through the night to clear the roads."

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