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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