A1 Closure Southbound, Lincolnshire. Tuesday August 04 2015

The A1 in Lin­colnshire was closed south­bound between the A607 (Melton Mow­bray) and the A606 (Stam­ford) through­out Tues­day August 04 due to a lorry fire. The fire caused exten­sive dam­age to the car­riage­way with the road remain­ing closed overnight for emer­gency resur­fac­ing work.

At approx­i­mately 08:20 sys­tems at our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre in Birm­ing­ham detected abnor­mal delays on the A1 near Greetham/Stretton. They passed the infor­ma­tion on to our East Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre to inves­ti­gate, who quickly con­tacted both Lin­colnshire Police and Leices­ter­shire Police to make fur­ther enquiries. Leices­ter­shire Police con­firmed they were assist­ing Leices­ter­shire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice with an inci­dent that involved 2 HGVs that were on fire. Leices­ter­shire Police also con­firmed that the road was blocked within a junc­tion and that traf­fic was divert­ing via the exit and entry slip roads of that junc­tion.  Fur­ther­more this was likely to be the case for some time. Our East Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre noti­fied our National Team in Birm­ing­ham who began dis­sem­i­nat­ing this infor­ma­tion out to you. They set vari­able mes­sage signs across the region and fur­ther afield in the north to warn you of the inci­dent and our National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cers began brief­ing the local and national media. They also used our social media chan­nels to push this infor­ma­tion out to you and pub­lished a high impact­ing “Break­ing News” mes­sage across all of our dig­i­tal platforms. 

A1 fire image 1

As this road is not rou­tinely patrolled by High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers, our con­trac­tors were ini­tially dis­patched to assist the fire and police ser­vice on scene with traf­fic man­age­ment resources. To keep traf­fic mov­ing and because of the where the HGVs were located, the police were able to divert traf­fic “up and over” the B668 Stret­ton junc­tion. Despite the best efforts of those on scene delays con­tin­ued to build on approach to the clo­sure reach­ing 60 min­utes above what they would have nor­mally been at that time of day. To improve this sit­u­a­tion we deployed High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers to close the road near Grantham so that we could utilise the signed strate­gic diver­sion using the A607 to Melton Mow­bray and A606 to Stam­ford. Our East Mid­lands Regional Oper­a­tions Man­ager took the strate­gic deci­sion to utilise the diver­sion to help reduce delays and improve jour­ney times for road users.

 

At 12:30 our Traf­fic Offi­cers had estab­lished the clo­sure at Grantham and the strate­gic diver­sion route was being used. This action allowed the A1 south­bound delays to sta­bilise and not increase sig­nif­i­cantly, which in turn allowed the recov­ery agents for the vehi­cle to get scene more quickly, as they were reported as being stuck in the tail­backs. Through­out the early after­noon the delays reduced a lit­tle as more approach­ing traf­fic was diverted away from the inci­dent via the A607 diver­sion route. By 15:30 in the after­noon it was for­mally declared by our con­trac­tors in atten­dance that the car­riage­way would have to be resur­faced. Logis­ti­cal arrange­ments for equip­ment and plant for the oper­a­tion were planned whilst the pro­tracted recov­ery oper­a­tion was ongo­ing dur­ing the late afternoon.

A1 fire image 3

The fire wreck­age brought a num­ber of chal­lenges to the recov­ery oper­a­tors and extract­ing the vehi­cles from the scene took time and pre­ci­sion.  Dur­ing the late after­noon and into the early evening the A1 south­bound delays increased to their peak. High­ways Eng­land pub­lished reg­u­lar updates for the delays and tweets were reg­u­larly issued to inform cus­tomers. Strate­gic Vari­able Mes­sage Sign­ing in other regions of the coun­try, namely the North West and North East regions of the coun­try car­ried appro­pri­ate mes­sages to inform strate­gic traf­fic which may have been con­sid­er­ing to take the A1 south­bound route. Finally by 20:15 all the recov­ery work was done and the scene was clear to allow our con­trac­tors to com­mence work to restore the car­riage­way. This coin­cided with evening peak traf­fic dimin­ish­ing and delays were reported as fully cleared by 21:00.  Our East Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre liaised with both Lin­colnshire and Leices­ter­shire Police dur­ing the late evening and into the early hours as the diver­sion route remained in place due to the exten­sive oper­a­tion at the B668 junc­tion. With regret the orig­i­nal ‘up and over’ diver­sion could not be re-established due to the road-space required for the resur­fac­ing as it would have been unsafe to do so, there­fore the strate­gic diver­sion via the A607/A606 remained in oper­a­tion. Through­out the night the resur­fac­ing was car­ried out by our con­trac­tors and fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of works the clo­sure was removed and the A1 south­bound car­riage­way was fully re-opened at 04:10 on Wednes­day morning.

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