The road to nowhere . . . the nightmare journey home as Bath brought to a standstill
t was the night that no one went anywhere fast. Commuters in Bath have described their nightmare journeys home after snow brought the city to a standstill.
Buses became stuck, 4x4s struggled to cope, hills were closed and cars abandoned as snow and ice took a new hold on the city on Tuesday night.
The worst stretch of road was the A367, with a bus stuck at Wellsway, and severe ice at Dunkerton Hill.
Shop worker Mike Smith was forced to walk seven miles in the snow to his home in Radstock after his bus became stranded.
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The 21-year-old, who works at Build A Bear, in SouthGate, made the three-and-a-half hour trek after the bus he was travelling on halted at Odd Down more than an hour after leaving the city centre.
He said: "It was like a scene out of the film The Day After Tomorrow.
"The driver said we couldn't go any further and the only option was to walk and a group of 20 of us got out and did just that."
Mr Smith got on the 184 bus to Radstock at Bath Bus Station at 6.35pm and eventually arrived home at 11.30pm.
He said: "There was no real pavement, the cars had no real control, there were a ridiculous number of abandoned vehicles and there was not proper lighting – it wasn't pleasant and not something I want to repeat."
Husband and wife Bob and Sharon Smith, from Peasedown St John, also faced an ordeal trying to get home.
Mr Smith, 65, a taxi driver for VCars, took three hours to get home after five attempts to leave the city.
He said: "I tried Wellsway, Ralph Allen Drive, Oldfield Park, I even went out to The Globe at Newton St Loe and in the end I went out to Limpley Stoke – it was a nightmare but I made it."
He added: "It was horrendous. All the years I have been driving I've never seen anything like it. I was so relieved to get home I thought I was going to have to sleep in the car.
"It was appalling. I even turned the radio off in the car because I had to focus so much."
Mrs Smith, 53, was forced to abandon her car near the Odd Down Park and Ride and walk two and a half miles in the snow to get home.
Her journey, which should have taken no more than half an hour, lasted four hours.
Mr Smith said: "Apparently when my wife gave up and walked there was a bus on Dunkerton Hill that had just parked up and was causing chaos, and two first emergency vehicles were stopping cars from going down the hill until a gritter arrived. All the traffic was backed up."
Izzy Robinson, from Midsomer Norton, has praised the "hero" bus driver who refused to leave his passengers after getting stuck in traffic for six hours on the A367.
She told the BBC: "He was truly lovely and his calmness, patience and professionalism is a credit to the company.
"I feel quite privileged to have met him. He was a hero and I gave him a big hug."
Meanwhile, community- spirited people power swung into action all over the city.
Web editor Justin Owen, who works at the University of Bath, spent two hours with other passers-by helping stranded motorists on Bathwick Hill.
The 38-year-old, who lives in Henrietta Street, helped to move cars to the side of the road.
He said: "It was just sheet ice. We were using things like cones and recycling bin lids to scrape the snow and ice off the road to make tracks for the cars to move to the pavement."
Mr Owen was helped by a university student who he only knows as Rob, and who had an exam yesterday, and a Prior Park College pupil called Callum, who was working in his school uniform and coat.
He said most people were leaving their cars and trying to make their way on foot, including an elderly man in his 80s, who they helped walk to a friend's house at the bottom of the hill.
Council worker Tom Wannell, who lives in Oldfield Park, was called to assist his partner James Henderson, who had spun onto the pavement in the icy conditions on Bloomfield Road.
The 26-year-old then spent a couple of hours working with a group of passers-by and helping motorists who had got stuck.
He said: "It was really nice to see so many strangers helping others out of the kindness of their hearts. It was really quite scary out there at times, so I want to thank everyone who was there and helping out.
"It was such a heart-warming sight to see all these people coming together."
Motorists faced further struggles as they made their way into work yesterday morning, with the main cause of the problems the number of abandoned cars on the roads.
Police were called to Bathwick Hill to deal with around 30 vehicles which had been left overnight, including two which had been abandoned in the middle of the road.