A TRACTOR leaking hydraulic oil led to traffic slipping and sliding down a county hill – even causing a smash between a van and a car.
Lincolnshire Police said the spillage – which resulted in oil spread over a three-mile stretch of road from Aubourn to Harmston – created an ice rink effect underfoot.
Dubbed by villagers as the "unofficial southern bypass", the route incorporating Harmston Road, Blackmoor Road and Station Road between the villages is a popular thoroughfare linking the A46 with the A15 and A17.
But from 9.30am yesterday any movement was extremely tentative, particularly climbing up the hill into Harmston.
PC Mark Wood said rainfall, combined with the oil, formed a treacherous surface.
This prompted police officers to wait at the bottom of the hill to clear the way for HGV lorries wanting to ascend.
PC Wood said: "It was awful and I could not even stand up on the road at one point.
"The tractor driver was blissfully unaware that he was leaking oil until his power steering stopped working and he couldn't turn the corner into Harmston. Normally the hydraulic oil would have got soaked into the road, but because of the rain it spread about more.
"We had one accident, a collision between a car and a van, which we can say the oil contributed to."
Area highways manager for Lincolnshire County Council Alan Brown said sand and a special absorbent material was spread along the stretch of road to improve grip for vehicles.
He said: "At first, HGVs were unable to climb Harmston Hill without using the wrong lane and were being convoyed by the police, but by late morning they were again moving up the normal lane.
"The signing remains in place, as does much of the absorbent surface, which will be left for as long as possible."
Bar staff at the Royal Oak in Aubourn and at the Thorold Arms in Harmston said they expected the slippery incident to be the talk of the pub last night.
And landlady of the Thorold Arms, Alison Welch, said fellow landlady Julie Haycroft announced to the pub she was on her way to the supermarket.
"She was told very definitely 'don't go down the hill'," said Ms Welch.