Rush-hour snowfall causes jams and delays all across Derbyshire
HUNDREDS of drivers found themselves stuck in stationary traffic for hours as heavy snow fell during evening rush hour last night.
The roads into many of Derbyshire's towns and villages quickly became treacherous and queues formed – with some drivers reportedly spending up to three hours trying to get home.
Police said other people simply abandoned their vehicles, further adding to the hold-ups.
The problems were also compounded by a bus which collided with a fence on Burnt House Lane, in Heanor.
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The driver and passengers were not thought to be hurt but it meant the bus had to be abandoned and police were called to the incident.
Met office forecasters said temperatures were set to rise today, heralding a period of dry weather for the next five days and highs of around 8C.
But last night temperatures fell to freezing point and when the snow turned to sleet and rain at around 7pm it quickly became slippery.
On the A608 between Heanor and Ilkeston, traffic was queuing bumper to bumper.
One local resident said the problems had begun at 3.30pm and continued well past 8pm.
He said: "We've not seen any gritters come down this road and the conditions are really bad now. I've seen hundreds of cars queuing."
People also described seeing many drivers walking after abandoning their cars because of the hazardous conditions.
Delays of up to two hours were experienced on Trent Barton bus routes, with some services, including the amberline linking Derby and Heanor, being suspended.
The 6.3 route was not able to serve Park Avenue, in Heage, while the 6.1 service, which runs between Bakewell, Matlock, Wirksworth and Derby city centre, was forced to use the A6 only.
The bus service updated its web pages to inform passengers of the delays and apologise for the inconvenience.
One lady praised the bus services for coping throughout the traffic congestion.
She said: "My son got on the 1A at Ripley which came at 4.30pm.
"He finally got back to Langley Mill at 6.50pm but even though the journey took ages he was very impressed with the lady driver.
"Well done to her and thank you for getting my son back home safe."
Hazardous driving conditions were reported on the B5036 Cromford Hill due to the snow, as well as on the A608 Station Road at Langley Mill.
Roads leading into Ilkeston, Heanor and Belper were jammed and many drivers took to website Twitter to report the problems.
Andy Dickinson Tweeted: "Literally one inch of snow and it's traffic chaos in Derbyshire – 10 miles in two hours with five more to go."
And Tracy Cunningham wrote: "Smalley Road like a sheet of ice."