Norfolk's gritting bill tops �1m

Kate ScotterMore than �1.1m has been spent on gritting the county's roads so far with another load of salt expected to be delivered by boat today as the cold snap continues to take hold.Kate Scotter

More than �1.1m has been spent on gritting the county's roads so far with another load of salt expected to be delivered by boat today as the cold snap continues to take hold.

The county is bracing itself for more wintry weather this week as more snow has been forecasted for today and tomorrow.

The heaviest snowfalls are predicted for tomorrow with up to 15cm of snow expected to settle in some places in Norfolk.

Already, the wintry conditions have caused chaos across the county, creating treacherous conditions for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and to add to the misery, potholes have started to appear as the roads deteriorate under the icy conditions.

Norfolk County Council's gritters have already been sent out more than 50 times with a shipment of salt due to arrive at King's Lynn's docks today and lorry loads of grit expected to refill Norfolk's stocks over the next few days.

A County Hall spokesman said: 'We've arranged for more deliveries of salt because of the amount we've used since before Christmas.

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'We have now spent over �1.1m on gritting and snow clearance - about half the cost of an average winter with much of it still ahead, and further icy weather and snow in the forecast for the rest of the week.

'Our priority routes for salting and snow clearance have been established to maintain essential travel as far as possible and ensure that goods and supplies continue to reach towns and larger villages right across the county.

'With snow and very low temperatures since before Christmas, there have only been a few times when we have been able to treat lower priority routes and market town shopping areas.'

This week, Dereham's shopping centre became like an ice rink with shoppers slipping over and injuring themselves. One office worker suffered a nasty fall as she crossed the centre on her way to work.

But Nigel Sizeland, manager of the privately-owned complex close to Dereham High Street, said the unexpected cold spell meant that all his 45 bags of grit had been used and he was unable to get any more stocks from his suppliers.

Meanwhile, the service of Evensong at St Andrew's Church in Trowse, near Norwich, on Sunday had to be postponed by a week due to dangerous road and pavement conditions in and around the village and motorists in Worminger Court, near the city centre, found the car park to be 'treacherous' and 'dreadful'.

Potholes have also begun to open as the frosty weather takes its toll on the county's roads. Up to 20 holes between Thunder Lane and Heartsease roundabout in Norwich, making the stretch of road hazardous, and a gaping hole has opened up between Theatre Street and Chapel Field North in Norwich.

The AA has also seen its number of call-outs quadruple with up to 18,000 jobs taken a day as motorists and cars are put under pressure due to the wintry conditions.

Phil Garner, from Weatherquest, based at the University of East Anglia, warned the cold weather was set to continue.

He said: 'We're not going to see temperatures reach much higher than 1C or 2C by day and there will be significant frosts by night.

'In terms of snow, we have a front coming down from the north on Tuesday morning and the snow will be reluctant to fade away in the afternoon.

'There will be further snow showers on Wednesday and it will be drier on Thursday and Friday but will stay bitterly cold.'