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Drivers trapped for hours in Edinburgh city bypass flooding

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Gemma Barrow traffic jamGemma Barrow

Drivers were stuck for hours after rush hour flooding

Hundreds of drivers were stuck for hours on the Edinburgh city bypass on Thursday evening after heavy rain and flooding.

The A720 at Dreghorn was closed in both directions from about 17:30 after more than a month’s worth of rain fell in 36 hours.

Edinburgh city council also closed Princes Street Gardens due to the downpour.

Environment agency Sepa issued six flood warnings and 11 flood alerts, with a Met Office yellow weather warning in place until 03:00 on Friday.

Police Scotland said there was “widespread traffic disruption” on the bypass between Lothianburn and Dreghorn.

The force posted on social media: “Delays are causing disruption back to the M8. Drivers are advised to avoid the area at this time.”

Bear Scotland flooded roadBear Scotland

More than a month’s worth of rain fell in 36 hours

Driver Gemma Barrow told BBC Scotland News she had been stuck on the bypass near Sighthill since 17:15.

She said: “I’ve probably not moved more than a mile in four and a half hours. It’s just tailback after tailback.

“There are cars overheating, a car behind me has just pulled into a layby with their hazard lights on, pulled up the bonnet and there’s smoke coming from the engine because we’ve been here for so long.

“I’m frustrated, I’m tired. I’m usually in bed by now and I’m still on my commute from work.”

Traffic Scotland jammed roadTraffic Scotland

There were tailbacks for miles on Edinburgh city bypass

Road maintenance firm Bear Scotland said it was working with Police Scotland to get traffic through safely “as soon as possible”.

Many drivers took to social media to describe “horrendous” conditions and to voice frustration at the long delays.

Traffic Scotland said police were releasing trapped traffic at about 22:00 and were “attempting to let motorists pass for a short time in order to relieve the congestion”.

Transport Scotland said Bear Scotland had been pumping water since the afternoon and police officers were making “welfare checks” and diverting traffic via nearby slip roads.

A spokesperson added: “With persistent rainfall into the evening, and to keep people safe, Police Scotland took the decision to close the road.

“We’re asking drivers to follow Traffic Scotland and Police Scotland for the latest updates, as road operatives work to reopen the road as soon as possible.”

City of Edinburgh Council Flooding in Princes Street GardensCity of Edinburgh Council

Edinburgh city council council closed Princes Street Gardens

The council posted images of the flooding in Princes Street Gardens and advised that the gardens and Inch Park in the south of the city would be closed until further notice.

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust said river levels were very high with rainfall causing “surging” towards Murrayfield.

The highest recorded rainfall over 36 hours was 111mm was at the Sepa site “Bush” near Penicuik.

At Nunraw Abbey, near the closed section of the Edinburgh city bypass, 95mm of rain was recorded between 12:00 on Wednesday and 19:00 on Thursday.

Edinburgh botanic garden recorded 48mm – which is its typical average figure for the entire the month of May.

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