'It was like when the English and French teams drilling from either end of the Channel to build Eurotunnel finally met in the middle!”
That is how Durham County Council’s highways superintendent Lee Potter recalls the moment teams from the authority and neighbouring Northumberland County Council met at their border in the culmination of co-ordinated efforts to reopen a snow blocked road.
“We stopped and had a quick chat, shook hands then got back to business,” adds Lee.
The meeting was the conclusion of the planned operation between the two councils to reopen the road which crosses the County Durham Northumberland divide in the North Pennines.
The road in question, the B6295 between Cowshill and Allenheads, had been rendered impassable by last week’s severe weather. Five foot of snow had left residents in the area unable to make journeys.
Teams from the two councils started at their respective ends on Monday morning, using snow blowers and tractors to carve out channels wide enough for vehicles to get through.
The teams reached the border minutes apart at lunchtime.
John Reed, Durham County Council’s head of technical services, said: “Creating channels in snow so deep you cannot even open the door of your vehicle is obviously very challenging. But when the snow is stopping our residents making journeys it is vital that we do it to make roads passable and we are always happy to work with our colleagues in
Northumberland to help people on both sides of the border.”
David Laux, Northumberland County Council’s head of technical services, added: “We were working round the clock to keep roads clear and open up parts of our network which were cut off.
“It’s always great to be able to meet our counterparts in Durham but it’s rarely under such unusual circumstances. As good as it was to share a handshake, the main thing is we were able to clear a channel through this key road for local communities.”