A34 Closure Both Directions, Hampshire, Wednesday 26 August 2015
The A34 in Hampshire was closed in both directions between the A4 near Speen and the A343 near Wash water due to a Heavy Goods Vehicle hitting the central reservation barrier and spilling its load onto both the north and southbound carriageways.
At approximately 06:43 our Highways England East Regional Control Centre became aware of an incident on the A34 near Speen in Hampshire involving a Heavy Goods vehicle which had crossed over the carriageway through the central reservation barrier from the northbound to the southbound subsequently colliding with a number of cars and blocking the road in both directions. To further add to the complications already presented, the Heavy Goods Vehicle had overturned and spilt its load onto the road surface. Consequently it became apparent that this was going to be a protracted incident with extensive clean up, recovery, and barrier repairs required before the road would be safe to reopen once again.
Emergency Services were notified and were mobilised by their respective control rooms. Upon arrival of the Emergency Services, Thames Valley Police assumed overall control of the incident with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service also in attendance. Further enquiries and initial survey of the scene revealed that the HGV had crossed over continuing to travel up the embankment on the southbound carriageway before turning over. Thankfully the driver of the vehicle did not appear to be badly injured and no other casualties were discovered. A large amount of debris had been strewn across both carriageways consisting of cosmetic goods including hairspray aerosol cans.
At 07:03 Thames Valley Police with the assistance of Highways England Traffic Officers had closed the southbound carriageway and on the northbound, lane 2 was closed with lane 1 still open. Due to the fact that the road would need to be closed southbound for some considerable time a robust diversion route was instigated with traffic directed to follow the Hollow Triangle symbol from Speen along the A4 eastbound towards Newbury and then the A339 and B4640 towards Tothill to rejoin the A34.
Damage to the central reservation barrier was extensive (later determined as amounting to 50 metres in length with 16 posts severely damaged) and this would require replacement. Work began to clean up and remove the debris under the guidance of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service due to the hazardous nature of the aerosol cans and by circa 10:15 the Fire Service were enforcing a 100 metre safety cordon around the incident. The spilt load was being removed by hand at this stage which was prolonging recovery operations.
At 11:35 a recovery vehicle arrived on scene in preparation to remove the HGV once the debris had been dealt with. Delays by this time had gradually built up and our National Traffic Control Centre was reporting delays of 60 minutes southbound and 40 minutes northbound. The Highways England National Incident Liaison Officer endeavoured to keep customers aware of what was happening at scene and the impact of the incident via social media channels and the Highways England Web sites and our National Press Office issued a News Release regarding the severe delays this incident was generating.
At 12:46 confirmation was received that all trapped traffic on the southbound carriageway had been cleared and recovery of the vehicle was to commence. This was achieved at circa 15:20, and with the HGV removed the last of the shed load was being cleared. Our contractors carried out an inspection of the road surface due to the fact that an amount of resin had also leaked from the overturned vehicle onto the carriageway. Remedial repairs were required regarding this and carried out throughout the afternoon. At 21:25 we were able to reopen a lane on the southbound carriageway thus having 1 lane running in either direction. Delays had peaked at 60 minutes on the southbound carriageway however by 21:40 these delays had subsided considerably and measured 10 minutes in both directions.
With the debris recovered by now, emergency repairs to the damaged central reservation barrier ensued. These were carried out with lane 2 remaining closed north and southbound, however the delays had by now cleared and traffic was flowing freely.
Highways England would like to thank motorists for their patience during this lengthy and challenging incident. Our National Incident Liaison Officers produced regular updated reports on the progress and impact of the incident to the National and local media and third party traffic information providers (such as the BBC) providing regular updates both online and through local and National radio.
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