M3 Closure J4-J4A Westbound, Hampshire. Wednesday 15 April 2015

The M3 was closed west­bound between J4 and J4A near Farn­bor­ough due to a fire involv­ing a flat-bed lorry car­ry­ing a dumper truck. The fire burnt out the lorry and its load as well as dam­ag­ing the car­riage­way sur­face and the fenc­ing and verge next to the road.

At 15:32 our road­works CCTV room iden­ti­fied that a lorry car­ry­ing a dumper truck was well alight on the west­bound car­riage­way and block­ing two lanes. Our South East Regional Con­trol Cen­tre Traf­fic Offi­cers imme­di­ately noti­fied Hamp­shire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice who mobilised their resources to the scene. We began to tweet about the inci­dent and pro­vided infor­ma­tion about the fire to the travel news media as well as set­ting our elec­tronic vari­able mes­sage sign­ing fur­ther away on approach­ing routes to warn of the incident.

M3 J4 - J4A vehicle fire

At 15:39 the west­bound car­riage­way became fully blocked by the mag­ni­tude of the fire and at 15:50 the fenc­ing next to the road was also alight. The fire ser­vice arrived at the scene at 15:56 and began work to tackle the blaze.

As it became clear that the fire ser­vice would be work­ing at the scene for some time our High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers worked with Hamp­shire Police to put traf­fic man­age­ment mea­sures into place to fully close the west­bound car­riage­way at J4 by 16:32 and begin to divert traf­fic off the road. We have pre­vi­ously agreed and signed a diver­sion route for all traf­fic in case of a road clo­sure between J4 and J4A so we pro­vided advice via our web­sites and to the travel news media that this diver­sion had gone into operation.

By 17:30 the scene had been made safe enough to enable us to re-open one lane past the inci­dent but it became clear that the recov­ery and clear up oper­a­tion would be pro­tracted. The fire was so intense that the cab and trailer of the vehi­cle had melted together mak­ing the recov­ery oper­a­tion par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult and the sever­ity of the fire had dam­aged the car­riage­way sur­face under­neath which would require imme­di­ate resur­fac­ing once the vehi­cle had been removed. A num­ber of large recov­ery vehi­cles, spe­cial­ist cut­ting equip­ment and low load­ers to remove the burnt out vehi­cles and equip­ment were required to attend.

Hard work to recover and clear the car­riage­way con­tin­ued with lane clo­sures in place until approx­i­mately 21:15 when con­ges­tion had reduced allow­ing a pre-planned overnight clo­sure of the car­riage­way between J4 and J4A for road­works to be put into oper­a­tion. This enabled recov­ery of the vehi­cle and resur­fac­ing to be com­pleted while this clo­sure was in place, with the car­riage­way fully re-opening at 04:52 in the early hours on Thurs­day prior to the morn­ing peak period.

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