Driver killed on M73, as wintry weather takes hold

Gritter on road between Inverness and Kirkhill
Image caption Scotland's Transport Minister Keith Brown said a fleet of 130 gritters had been out overnight

A lorry driver has been killed as heavy snow caused problems on roads across Scotland.

The worst affected areas have been the Highlands, Central Scotland and South Lanarkshire.

Scotland's transport minister praised motorists for their patience but said difficult travel conditions were anticipated to continue, with temperatures below freezing.

Snow also caused disruption in Northern Ireland and the north of England.

In Glasgow, the M73 was closed southbound at J2 Baillieston after two lorries crashed at about 12:30, killing the 43-year-old driver of one of the vehicles.

Police investigating the collision said they want to speak to the driver of a gold coloured car which they believe was involved in an incident prior to the road crash.

They stressed they do not believe this contributed to the crash, but hope the driver could help their inquiries.

In north Lincolnshire, a lorry driver died after his vehicle left the A160 in South Killingholme at about 04:14.

There have been reports of further heavy snow on the M74 at Lesmahagow, where earlier a jackknifed lorry caused major problems.

In Stirlingshire, the A82 between Stirling and Tyndrum was partially blocked because of ice and snow.

On the trains, a landslide near Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway meant services between Kilmarnock and Dumfries were also being disrupted.

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said a fleet of 130 gritters and winter patrols had been out in the early hours of Monday and efforts, involving the police and road and rail operators, were continuing to keep Scotland moving.

He added: "After a treacherous morning for many commuters across Scotland the weather is generally improving.

"A fleet of over 130 gritters and winter patrols were out throughout the night to treat trunk roads and we used 3,000 tonnes of salt - many other patrols were out in force on local roads."

Mr Brown urged the public to "play their part" by planning their journeys and checking travel updates.

The A9 between Perth and Inverness was particularly badly affected by the snowfalls. A 27-year-old man and a pregnant woman were taken to hospital following a three-vehicle crash, north of Dalguise.

Police said the collision was not thought to be linked to the weather.

On the M74 at Lesmahagow in South Lanarkshire some drivers were stuck for three hours southbound after a lorry jackknifed in the snow at about 04:30.

The motorway reopened at about 07:30.

South Lanarkshire Council said all its schools were expected to open as normal on Tuesday.

On Monday the local authority closed 15 primary schools and two nurseries due to the snow.

Highland Council, which had four primary schools and one secondary closed on Monday, said it had no reports of any planned closures for Tuesday.

Two primaries closed in Dumfries and Galloway were also due to reopen on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Scotland's ski centres said they did not get enough snow to justify opening, although Nevis Range saw four inches fall and is considering opening early this year.

Cairngorm mountain, Glencoe, Glenshee and Lecht Ski Centre all reported a "dusting" of snow but said it was not enough for winter snow sports yet.

Snow fell in various areas of Northern Ireland between Monday and Tuesday, with 5cm deposits on high ground.

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