UPDATE: Giant ferris wheel forced to close and Bolton drivers warned ahead of expected 80mph winds
HIGH winds expected to batter Bolton for most of the day have forced the giant ferris wheel in Victoria Square to close.
Metal fencing has been erected around the wheel area and many of the Christmas trees and snowmen surrounding the attraction have been blown over.
Bolton motorists have also been warned by a Highways Agency amber alert to the North West and North West of England to be “cautious”, with strong winds forecast until at least 3pm on Friday.
Meanwhile the Met Office has sent out an amber “be prepared” alert to north Wales and northern England ahead of predicted gusts of up to 80mph.
A Bolton Council spokesman said: "A decision was taken this morning to close the wheel until further notice because of the weather forecasted today."
The exit slip road from the M61 at Preston was also shut for about two hours this morning because of an overturned tree, and knock-on delays should be expected.
A section of the M61 near Westhoughton, between junctions four and five, is particularly hazardous, with a weather alert also in place between junctions 18 and 27 of the M62 between Manchester and Leeds.
The stretch of the M60 from Barton Bridge to the M62 at junction 12 should also be avoided by high-sided vehicles, according to the agency.
The junction of the M61 and the M65 at Bamber Bridge has also been affected while problems are also expected on the motorway network in Merseyside, Cumbria and other parts of Lancashire.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “Road users driving high-sided vehicles, riding motorcycles or towing caravans are being urged to check traffic and weather conditions before setting out on journeys and to heed any advice such as speed restrictions once they are on the strategic road network.
“The Highways Agency, in conjunction with the Met Office, strongly advises that these types of vehicles avoid, if at all possible, the following sections during the Severe Weather Alert.”
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