More misery for motorists

COMMUTERS faced more misery on the roads as flooding continued to cause widespread problems – but brighter weather is forecast for the coming days.

Hartlepool and East Durham were again subjected to heavy rain yesterday, but weather experts are predicting the worst is now over.

A pine tree that fell in the Burn Valley in the early hours of Tuesday morning during the stormy weather. Picture by Tom Collins.

A pine tree that fell in the Burn Valley in the early hours of Tuesday morning during the stormy weather. Picture by Tom Collins.

A number of roads were closed yesterday, but by teatime many had reopened.

However, Merlin Way, on the Bishop Cuthbert estate, along with Dalton Back Lane on the outskirts of the town at the A689 Stockton Road junction, remained closed last night and earlier today.

The northbound slip road onto A19 at Sheraton was closed at the A179 junction, while Usworth Road, in Hartlepool, was also closed until yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile Valley Drive, in the West Park area of town, and the A689 eastbound at Newton Bewley, were all flooded, but passable with care.

The A179 from Hart Village to West View, which had been causing problems for commuters, was cleared while Brenda Road, near to Graythorp Forge, was also flooded and closed, but did reopen to traffic.

The A689 near Wynyard was closed eastbound between the two roundabouts into the estate, with traffic being diverted through Wynyard Village itself due to a lot of standing water.

It finally reopened in both directions at lunchtime.

Motorists using the busy A19 faced a lot of standing water and at one stage, the A19 northbound was down to one lane, causing long tailbacks.

Alastair Smith, Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director for transportation and engineering, said: “There is still some surface water on many roads and we advise motorists to take the road conditions into consideration when driving.”

Mr Smith added: “We are working with the emergency services and doing everything possible to alleviate the current situation.

“We have teams out clearing gulleys and water courses and there will be no let up in our effort to tackle the flooding and make sure people stay safe.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank motorists for their patience during the recent difficult road conditions.”

All rail services between Sunderland and Middlesbrough have been suspended due to a landslide between Hartlepool and Seaham and services are unlikely to resume until Thursday, with Northern Rail providing buses from Hartlepool station.

Easington MP Grahame Morris praised the work by firefighters in the House of Commons, adding: “Especially the fire and rescue services in the North-East, particularly in Durham and Teesside, who have been doing such a terrific job.”

The Met Office said the heavy rain was due to ease off around 6am this morning with sunny intervals and scattered showers, some of which could be heavy, during the day.

Forecasters predicted it would be windy along the coast and Thursday, Friday and Saturday are set to be much drier and bright but with temperatures falling as low as three degrees.

l Your weather pictures: Pages 16 & 17