Exceptional year

PUBLISHED: 09:47 04 January 2008 | UPDATED: 15:53 09 June 2010

WHILE you were tucking into turkey, unwrapping presents and travelling to see friends and family, 50 Highways Agency traffic officers were patrolling roads and working in the regional control centre to ensure your safety.

WHILE you were tucking into turkey, unwrapping presents and travelling to see friends and family, 50 Highways Agency traffic officers were patrolling roads and working in the regional control centre to ensure your safety.

The highly visible, uniformed service patrols 209 miles of motorway across the South West, every hour of every day, to keep traffic moving.

Colleagues in the control room keep road users informed of any incidents across the motorways and take calls direct from people using the orange emergency phones.

Between December 1, 2006, and November 30, 2007, traffic officers attended an average of 80 incidents every day in the South West.

But those figures only tell half the story. Last year (2007) was characterised by the unexpected. Extremely windy conditions on January 18 meant the officers dealt with hundreds of incidents, including 48 overturned lorries and uprooted trees.

Last summer's floods saw them battling the elements to help stranded motorists, and providing assistance to Highways Agency contractors on the M5 and routes not normally patrolled by the service.

Derek Turner, the Highways Agency's director of traffic operations, said: "2007 saw some exceptional weather-related incidents.

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