Alert as Wigan schools and rush hour traffic hit by overnight snow
Schools have been closed and morning rush hour traffic gridlocked as snow hit Wigan borough over night.
Residents woke to a thick coating of the white stuff on Wednesday morning and a number of schools in the area were putting out announcements on social media saying the conditions were too treacherous for it to be safe to open.
Despite council gritters' having been out all night, roads were still proving difficult to navigate with only the most often-used highways easy enough to travel.
Schools which have confirmed they are closing today include: Standish High, St John Fisher High in Beech Hill, Westleigh High, Golborne High, Orrell St Peter's High, Cansfield High in Ashton, Shevington High, Astley St Mary's High, Fred Longworth High, Bedford High in Leigh, Hawkley Hall High, Oakfield High School in Hindley, both St James's and New Fold Primary Schools in Orrell, Nicol Mere and RL Hughes Primaries in Ashton, Abram Bryn Gates Primary, Winstanley Community Primary, Billinge St Aidan's, St John Rigby and Winstanley Colleges.
Ince Rose Bridge Academy, The Byrchall High in Ashton, Woodfield Primary, Whitley, and Wigan and Leigh College have already confirmed that they will be open for business today.
Motorists on the M6 have been told to expect long delays between Standish and Ashton, and there has been heavy traffic building up northbound at Haydock. It has been reported that due to the snow, motorway traffic is down to one lane in some places in the borough, with Highways England saying contractors are ploughing snow clear between Orrell and Ashton.
There were reports also of the Leigh guided busway service's being disrupted while Manchester and John Lennon Airports have currently grounded all planes.
Stagecoach buses have announced that they are unable to operate out of their Wigan depot, thus affecting school services.
In Abram traffic has been at a standstill although attempts have been made to alter roadworks to ease vehicles' way.
Drivers also reported gridlocked traffic in Aspull and Standish.
And The Galleries car park is closed. The council tweeted: The Galleries car park in Wigan town centre is currently closed due to ice at the entrance.
We are clearing it to make it safe and will reopen it as soon as possible. Cars already parked can exit as normal. Water Street car park is open as an alternative car park.
Platt Bridge Life Centre is currently closed due to the weather. Wigan and Ince life centres are open as normal.
A Wigan Council spokesman said: "Please take care when travelling this morning with the snow and ice.
"Our team have been out treating the roads but many routes are dangerous.
"Also check with your school as some schools and colleges have announced closures due to safety concerns today."
Some members of the public, however, took to social media to complain of overreaction to a "dusting of snow" and criticise schools for closing too easily when parents of pupils having to commute far further were able to get to their workplaces.