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.
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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