A34 Closure A420 - A4130 Southbound, Oxfordshire. Monday 15 December 2014

The A34 was closed on Mon­day between junc­tions with the A420 (Bot­ley) and the A4130 (Mil­ton) in Oxford­shire due to an inci­dent involv­ing a lorry and a coach.

Thames Val­ley Police directed the High­ways Agency to close the A34 due to a col­li­sion involv­ing a lorry and a coach. The inci­dent occured at approx 00:50. Oxford­shire Ambu­lance Ser­vice and High­ways Agency con­trac­tors attended the scene also. Our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre utilised elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sages Signs in both the East and West Mid­lands area to warn motorists who may be head­ing towards the A34 in Oxford­shire of the closure.

At 01:15 with the clo­sure estab­lished Oxford­shire Ambu­lance ser­vice dealt with a num­ber of casu­al­ties from the inci­dent whilst Thames Val­ley Police advised that they would be under­tak­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion in to the col­li­sion. Due to the strate­gic impor­tance of the A34 as major link road to the ports at Portsmouth and Southamp­ton con­ges­tion behind the inci­dent rapidly built despite the early hour. A diver­sion was estab­lished promptly util­is­ing pre-planned emer­gency diver­sion route (marked with a solid tri­an­gle on local road signs)  via the A420, A338 to Wan­tage, A417 east­bound and A4130 north­bound, via Mil­ton Hill. Traf­fic bound for the south coast from the Mid­lands was also encour­aged to use the M40, M25 and M3 as a strate­gic diver­sion. The High­ways Agency utilised the elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sage Signs to encour­age use of this route as well as using social media, our main web­site and our bulletin’s to the local and national media to indi­cate that this was a viable alter­na­tive route.


HGV vs Coach 3

At the time of the road clo­sure there were a num­ber of road users trapped behind the scene of the inci­dent within the clo­sure. A plan was there­fore put in place to remove these motorists by rear­ward relief , whereby traf­fic is turned around on the affected car­riage­way to travel in the reverse direc­tion. This process was a lengthy one due to the con­sid­er­able amount of large heavy goods vehi­cles within the clo­sure and the lim­ited space in which to turn them around. How­ever we man­aged to clear the trapped traf­fic within approx­i­mately 3 hours of the incident.

Whilst Thames Val­ley Police con­ducted their inves­ti­ga­tion in to the inci­dent the High­ways Agency com­menced mak­ing arrange­ments for the recov­ery of the vehi­cles involved, once the scene was handed over to us by the police. Given the nature of the vehi­cles involved and their sit­u­a­tion, recov­ery was going to be a pro­tracted and com­plex affair. Thames Val­ley Police con­cluded their inves­ti­ga­tion at approx 05:40 and advised recov­ery oper­a­tions could commence.

The first vehi­cle to be recov­ered from the scene was the coach. Due to this vehi­cle being located on the embank­ment the recov­ery was going to be com­plex. The removal of the coach was com­pleted at approx­i­mately 10:30 and work to remove the lorry then commenced.

A34 HGV vs Coach 1HGV vs Coach 2

The trac­tor unit of the lorry was removed first and this allowed the out­side lane of the A34 to be reopened past the scene at around 13:30 whilst work con­tin­ued to remove the trailer unit.

Fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the recov­ery work our con­trac­tors then had to then clear up the large amount of debris that was left behind before we could com­pletely reopen the road. An inci­dent involv­ing two such large vehi­cles and the resul­tant recov­ery oper­a­tion can leave a sub­stan­tial amount of debris and spillages to clear up before we can allow you to travel past the scene and this inci­dent was no dif­fer­ent.  At 15:58 the clean up work was com­plete and all lanes were open

HGV vs Coach 4

Whilst the road remained closed long delays on the A34 and sur­round­ing roads were detected. We used a num­ber of meth­ods to com­mu­ni­cate this infor­ma­tion to you such as Twit­ter, our High­ways Agency’s web­site and Traf­fic Eng­land travel site, updates to the local and national media and the elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sage Signs.

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