M4 Closure J12-J11 Eastbound, Berkshire. Tuesday 28 April 2015
The M4 was closed eastbound and lane 3 (of 3 lanes) was closed westbound due to a collision involving an HGV (cement mixer) and a car. The HGV crossed over from the westbound to the eastbound carriageway, overturning and spilling wet cement and diesel onto the road surface.
At approximately 12:52 our East Regional Control Centre was notified of an accident that had occurred on the M4 eastbound between J12 and J11, just south of Reading that was blocking the main carriageway. Our CCTV room quickly found the incident on camera and deployed our Traffic Officers to scene immediately. At the same time, units from Thames Valley Police and Berkshire Fire and Rescue service were mobilised. Once on scene, it was clear that this was a very serious incident and at approximately 13:01 Thames Valley Police took the decision to close the motorway eastbound and implement a lane 3 (of 3) closure on the westbound carriageway. Our national teams started to push this information out to the media and via our Twitter channels as well as setting message signs further afield to warn you of the incident. A diversion was implemented, with traffic being advised to leave the M4 at J12 and follow the hollow circle symbol via the A4, A4155 and the A33, re-joining the M4 at J11. Traffic approaching the M4 J13 eastbound was encouraged to consider using the A34 southbound, A303 eastbound & M3 eastbound. These diversion routes were disseminated via Twitter, Highways England Breaking News, reports to the media and electronic Variable Message Signs above the M4 and other major roads on the approach to this incident to enable you to make informed decisions about your journeys.
By this point, long delays on approach to the incident were being reported. There was also a significant amount of traffic trapped within the closure. Our Traffic Officers worked closely with both Police and Contractors to release traffic past the scene of the incident via the hard shoulder. All trapped traffic was released by 14:50.
Incident screens were deployed to protect the scene of the incident, and to allow South Central Ambulance Service to treat the driver of the over turned tanker who was trapped in the vehicle. This ensured traffic passing the incident on the opposite carriageway could not see the incident. Once extracted, the casualty was taken to a local hospital with a reported serious injury.
An Incident Support unit attended the scene to address the significant spillage of concrete and diesel. A large quantity of absorbent powder was applied to soak-up the diesel spilled. Vehicle recovery was assessed and a ‘Heavy Wrecker’ was requested for the tanker. Despite the application of the large quantities of absorbent powder, the extensive diesel spilled on the hard shoulder and in lanes 1, 2 and 3 meant that all lanes on the eastbound carriageway needed to be resurfaced. The cement spilled also compromised the surface of the eastbound carriageway. A barrier repair crew were despatched for the badly damaged central reservation barrier.
By approximately 16:50 it became clear that the extensive resurfacing work would be protracted and would continue through the night and into the early hours of the following morning. This was because resurfacing work could not start properly until the tanker had been recovered. Recovery was complete by 21:00 and this enabled contractors to begin work on the carriageway surface. Our National Incident Liaison Officers continued to keep you updated with progress via twitter, out Traffic England website and local media and radio.
At 04:35 we were able to re-open the carriageway, leaving lanes 2 and 3 closed to allow the final stages of the re-surfacing to take place, and lane 2 re-opened at approximately 05:45. To allow the concrete barrier to cure safely, the decision was made to leave a lane 3 closure in place until later in the day.
At 17:15 our East Regional Control centre confirmed that all emergency repair work was complete and the carriageway was fully re-opened and there were no reported delays.
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