Police issue warning after more than 60 crashes take place in just 5 hours on Somerset's icy roads

  • Watch Supt Mark Runacres' interview with ITV News West Country

Drivers are being urged to only travel if essential after police issued a renewed warning over "treacherous" conditions on Somerset's roads.

It comes after a double-decker bus overturned on the A39 near Bridgwater at around 6am this morning (17 January).

Avon and Somerset Police say they received reports of more than 60 crashes in the space of just five hours last night, with temperatures set to plummet again this evening.

Supt Mark Runacres said: "We were receiving a very high volume of calls and between 6pm and 11pm.

"We had over 60 reports of road traffic collisions and over 60 reports of other road-related incidents.

"The vast majority of them related to ice on the roads were the flood water and surface run-off from the rain we have had and the flooding over recent days has become sheet ice and become treacherous for drivers, particularly in rural locations."

Following concerns Avon and Somerset Police would struggle to cope with the number of calls they were receiving, the force convened a meeting with emergency services and highways teams last night.

As a result, it is understood the number of gritting lorries out on the roads was increased.

Supt Mark Runacres added: "Everyone was working hard to try to keep the roads safe but with that sheet ice, it's incredibly difficult to deal with that and obviously treacherous for drivers.

"We were expecting there to be some issues but I was alarmed by the volume that we had through mid-evening and that became a concern because I was worried about our ability to actually service that demand and get to people when they call us.

"In urban areas, travelling is fine, but in the rural areas still we urge caution on untreated roads there is that risk of ice still and people need to be very careful."

Last night (16 January) the advice from the police was to avoid all but essential travel because of the icy conditions on the roads.

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