M62 Closure J24-J22 Both Directions, West Yorkshire. Wednesday 29 April 2015
The M62 in West Yorkshire was closed in both directions between junctions J24-J22 due to a serious collision involving 2 HGVs. The HGVs both crossed from the westbound carriageway through the central barrier and in to lane 3 of the eastbound carriageway. One serious and one minor injury were reported. There was a significant amount of central barrier damage and debris across all lanes of both carriageways.
At approximately 14:29 West Yorkshire police notified our North East Regional Control Centre that they were getting reports of a serious collision involving 2 HGV’s. Early reports suggested that both the HGVs had crossed through the central barrier and traffic in the area was at a standstill. The location was noted as being close to the Scammonden Reservoir, a local well known landmark. Our Regional Control Centre operators quickly found the incident on CCTV and relayed what they saw to our emergency services colleagues. They immediately set signs and signals on both carriageways prior to the incident to warn those in the area what was ahead of them. Our national teams based in Birmingham set strategic variable message signs across the region and further afield to warn those heading towards the area that there was a serious incident and that they should choose alternative routes. We broadcast the information to you via social media and our website services. We ensured the local and national media were aware including local radio stations so that as many of you as possible were able to make an informed decision and avoid the area.
Upon arrival by emergency services, there was concern for one of the casualties and the Air Ambulance was deployed. Units from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were also at the scene to assist West Yorkshire Police who were leading the response to the collision. Highways England Traffic Officers were deployed and arrived at the scene at 14:47 to assist our police colleagues with traffic management measures. Aside from the accident itself, damage to infrastructure was 15 posts and beams of the nearside barrier on the westbound carriageway and 50 posts of the central reservation barrier. This exposed 150 metres of high tension cable which was a significant safety concern.
Prior to the arrival of the Air Ambulance the eastbound carriageway did have traffic moving in lane 1, however as soon as the ambulance was cleared to land on the carriageway the road was effectively closed at this point. By 15:35 the traffic block of the M62 was formalised into a full closure. This triggered a number of measures including the closure of J22 eastbound entry slip road, closure of J23 westbound entry slip road and the formal coning off and closure of the carriageways themselves. The pre-existing ‘emergency diversion route’ for these junctions was then activated and broadcast to customers via our Highways England twitter feeds for the North West, North East and Yorkshire regions and additionally published on the breaking news page of the Highways England Website. The diversion comprised of westbound traffic advised to follow the solid square symbol led diversion from J24 via A629, A646, A58 and A672 to re-join M62 at J22, eastbound traffic to follow the hollow circle symbol led diversion from J22 (the reverse of the westbound route).
By 16:25 in the afternoon delays were one hour with approaching queues in both directions up to the diversion points. The westbound queues were back to J25 near Hartshead Moor Services and eastbound queues extended back towards J21 at Milnrow. During this time all emergency services and contractors were working hard carrying out clean-up and recovery work, our highways contractors were carrying out a number of inspections and safety work. Encouragingly, by 17:45 we were able to safely re-open lane 1 of the eastbound carriageway to alleviate some of the pressure, the westbound however had to remain closed. Additionally there was further difficulty with turning some of the HGV’s in the trapped traffic. Earlier in the afternoon our Traffic Officers were co-ordinating the rearward relief operations to clear vehicles caught in the closure. A number of vehicles were occupying the hardshoulder and some minor secondary collision incidents hampered this operation. Ultimately a large proportion of HGV’s had to stack on the westbound carriageway until the road ahead re-opened.
As the incident continued into the early evening and the police investigation work and HGV recovery operations were drawing to a close, Highways England barrier repair crews were hard at work aiming to have the westbound carriageway safely re-opened as soon as possible. At 20:30 lane 2 of the eastbound carriageway was re-opened (later followed by lane 3) and by this point Highways England Traffic Officers were sweeping the westbound carriageway for any HGV’s possibly broken down or any further hazards in anticipation of the westbound carriageway re-opening. At 21:15 the J23 westbound entry slip road was opened and following final checks from J24 — J23, the full closure at J24 westbound carriageway was removed at 21:45. Disseminations and broadcasts were placed via twitter and ‘Now Open’ variable message signs were set on strategic approaches to the M62. Highways England websites informed of the road re-opening.
Throughout this incident, Highways England updated customers via our website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/ and via our regional twitter feeds @HighwaysNEAST, @HighwaysNWEST and @HighwaysYORKS.
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