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.
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.
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
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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