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STORM DORIS UPDATE 5pm: Runcorn Widnes bridge closed to …

STORM Doris is wreaking havoc across Halton. The Runcorn Widnes bridge is closed to HGV vehicles. Diversions are in place and signs are in place warning wagon drivers to avoid the crossing.

Work has come to a standstill on the Mersey Gateway construction site. A spokesman for Merseylink said: “The main bridge site is virtually closed. Our tower cranes cannot operate in winds above 14 metres per second and today is showing approximately 31m per second.”

Residents were evacuated after a roof was blown off a row of terraced houses in Handforth Lane, Halton Lodge. Firefighters discovered the roof hanging over the road and have cordoned off the area. Trees have been uprooted across Runcorn and Widnes.

One tree in The Uplands, Palacefields to fall onto a house. A tree fell in Woodridge, Windmill Hill. Another big tree landed on a house near a field on Dundalk Road, Widnes.

A tree blocked South Lane near the railway bridge. The INOVYN chemical site in Runcorn has experienced power cuts and activated emergency measures. An INOYYN spokesman said: “Runcorn Site has been subject to a significant loss of power this morning as a result of the adverse weather. “The various INOVYN production units on site shut down as per design and the on-site emergency response plan has been activated.

“As a precautionary measure, gas detection officers were deployed both on site and outside of the site boundary. No emissions were detected offsite. “The INOVYN plants are now operating in safe mode whilst the on-site team works to restore power and return to normal operation.”

Boston Avenue is currently closed from Festival Way to the Red Admiral pub while highways staff remove a fallen tree. For safety reasons Halton Council has closed Victoria Park and Hough Green Park for the rest of the day. Cheshire Police has received an unprecedented number of calls relating to Storm Doris since 9am today.

Residents are advised avoid making any unnecessary journeys at the current time. Chief Inspector Sarah Edgar said: “The situation is currently being monitored by the police and our partner agencies and we are responding to incidents as they occur. “The winds at the current time are extremely strong across the county and I would advise motorists to consider delaying any journeys that they have planned over the next couple of hours unless they are absolutely essential.

“There are numerous road closures across the county, including the M6 Thelwall Viaduct, Central Expressway in Runcorn, A49 at Higher Whitley, A559 at Great Budworth and many smaller roads. The A533 Jubilee Bridge in is Runcorn is also closed to high sided vehicles. Diversions are currently in place, but delays are expected.

“We have had a large number of calls relating to fallen trees in the road and damaged buildings which have been passed onto the local councils to deal with.

“Adverse weather conditions do not of course just affect motorists; members of public are urged to be aware of their own safety and pay attention to warnings and advice being issued.” Thelwall Viaduct remains closed and there is severe disruption to trains. Cheshire Police has so far responded to more than 500 incidents today.

Chief Inspector Sarah Edgar said: “Although the worst of the weather has now passed, Storm Doris is continuing to cause disruption across the county. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and we are working with partner agencies to respond to incidents as they occur. “As darkness begins to fall I would like to advise motorists travelling on the county’s roads to take extra care.

“While all efforts are being made to clear the roads as soon as possible, a large number of trees have come down as a result of the storm and there is still a significant amount debris on the roads. It is anticipated that further trees will fall due to being weakened during the storm. “Numerous road closures remain in place at the current time, including the M6 Thelwall Viaduct, the A54 at Delamere, A49 at Higher Whitley, A559 at Great Budworth and many smaller roads.

“The A533 Jubilee Bridge in Runcorn is also closed to high sided vehicles. Diversions are currently in place, but delays are expected. “We have had a large number of calls relating to fallen trees in the road and damaged buildings which have been passed onto the local councils to deal with.

“Adverse weather conditions do not of course just affect motorists; members of public are urged to be aware of their own safety and pay attention to warnings and advice being issued.”

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