Highways Agency gives advice for drivers as strong winds and heavy rain forecast

Published date: 22 December 2013
Type:Press release
Region: National

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release issued 22 December 2013

The Highways Agency is advising road users to be cautious as strong winds and heavy rain are forecast across much of England from Monday morning though to late Tuesday morning.

The Agency has issued an amber alert, warning drivers in the East, South East and South West that heavy rain and high winds are forecast.

Road users driving high-sided vehicles, riding motorcycles or towing caravans are being urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and to heed any advice such as speed restrictions once they are on the strategic road network.

Met Office forecasters based in the Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre in Birmingham are predicting currently that the strongest winds look to be across the South through tomorrow with southern coastal routes particularly affected.

Gusts of up to 60 mph are likely south of the M4 across to Suffolk with 70mph gusts likely on routes close to the coast. The public should be aware of the potential for significant disruption to travel due to the very strong winds and also the risk of some flooding.

John McTaggart, head of on-road services at the Highways Agency said:

“We are working closely with the Met Office to monitor conditions ahead of tomorrow. Road users are urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and to heed any advice such as speed restrictions once they are on the strategic road network.

“Be aware of sudden gusts of wind, and give high-sided vehicles, caravans, motorbikes and bicycles plenty of space. In the event of persistent high winds we may need to close certain bridges to traffic for a period, so please be alert for warnings of closures and follow the clearly signed diversion routes. “

Currently, the Agency, in conjunction with the Met Office, is advising drivers of high-sided or other vehicles vulnerable to high winds, should avoid the following roads if possible during the weather alert:

A14 Orwell Bridge, near Ipswich – main risk period from 1300 Monday
A282 QE2 Bridge/Dartford Bridge – main risk period from 1200 Monday

South East
Gusts of up to 70mph possible from 1200 Monday to 0400 Tuesday in the following locations:
M27 junction 8 to 9, Hedge Head to Locks Heath
A27 Shoreham Flyover, near to Hove/Brighton
A2 Jubilee Way close to Dover
M2 junction 2 to 3
A249 Kings Ferry/Sheppy Crossing
A282 QE2 Bridge/Dartford Bridge

South West
A30/A38 Bodmin - gusts in excess of 60mph possible from 0900 to 1400 Monday
Gusts in excess of 60mph possible from 0900 to 1500 Monday in the following locations:
M4 junction 22 to 23, Severn Crossing
M48 junction1 to 2, Severn Crossing
M49, known as M4 junction 22 (at Severn Crossing) to M5 junction 18 (at Avonmouth)
M5 junction 18 to 19, Avonmouth Bridge
M5 junction 20 to 23, Clevedon to Bridgwater

Live traffic information updates are available on the Highways Agency website at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​t​r​a​f​fic and the latest weather forecasts can be found at www​.metoffice​.gov​.uk.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and other strategic roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and other strategic roads is available:
- From the web at www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​t​r​a​f​fic or from a phone or mobile device at m.highways.gov.uk
- By phone from the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 03 numbers are charged at no more than a national call to an 01 or 02 number and are included in all discount schemes and call allowances. This applies to all landlines, mobiles and payphones. Call costs will vary depending on your landline or mobile supplier.) Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call. Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
- On an iPhone app which will automatically select the region you are in. Free to download from the iTunes store or search for Highways Agency on your device.
- From Twitter – there are eight feeds with live traffic information provided by region. For the full index visit www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​t​w​i​t​ter.

3. Receive our national and regional press releases by RSS and get the latest headlines straight to your desktop the moment we publish them to our website. Choose to receive a national press feed or one of our regionalised feeds - go to www​.highways​.gov​.uk/​r​s​s​n​ews for more information.


Highways Out of Hours
Phone: 0844 693 1448

Samantha Harris
Phone: 0121 678 8023