With the heavy snows and extreme wintery weather finally slackening off, County Durham is rapidly getting back to normal.

 Almost all the roads that were closed because of the snow have now reopened. At the time of writing, the only road in the county remaining closed was the C28 Westgate to Newbiggin.

The C77 Rookhope to Ireshopeburn and the C78 Rookhope to Westgate are now passable, but drivers are advised to take care.

The council’s round-the-clock winter road maintenance is now winding down, but ploughing continues on priority one and two routes in the High and Low Pennines and on other routes as necessary.

Most of County Durham’s schools reopened yesterday, with just two schools failing to reopen due to power supply problems.

 At Red Rose Primary School in Chester-le-Street, parents and staff were out clearing streets and paths around the school to make sure it was safe for the children to go back.

 The school’s headteacher, Sue Bainbridge, said, “Early on Saturday, I was able to access the school and found that the whole area was covered in very thick snow and I soon realised that one caretaker wouldn’t be able to clear a site of this size.”

 “The governors and I decided we would send out a message to do a snow-clearing workshop with parents, governors and grandparents and on Sunday morning between 12.00 pm and 2.00 pm we had about 50 volunteers who came with their shovels to clear the snow outside the school.”

 “One of our former pupils even arrived with his tractor, which was amazing, and cleared the entire yard, so now we are just about snow clear and were able to open this morning.”

Residents whose bins were not collected last week should put their bins out on the normal day for the collection of that waste type. Any extra rubbish that has built up will be taken away as part of that collection.

 Durham County Council’s buildings and facilities maintenance team has been dealing with issues that occurred last week such as burst pipes and leaky roofs and are making sure buildings are fit to use.

 Throughout the recent period of extreme winter weather, many Durham County Council staff went beyond the call of duty to get essential services to residents. From battling through blizzards to deliver medication to rescuing sheep caught in snowdrifts, many council workers went the extra mile to help the county cope.

(The featured image shows Sue Bainbridge with Red Rose pupil Flyn Hudson.)

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