M56 Closure Both Directions, Cheshire. Monday 10 August 2015

The M56 in Cheshire was closed in both direc­tions between J12 (Run­corn) and J14 (Ellesmere Port), due to a tanker vehi­cle fire. The tanker was car­ry­ing 8 tonnes of propane gas, lead­ing to a 1500 meter exclu­sion zone also being implemented.

At approx­i­mately 14:55 Cheshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice noti­fied High­ways Eng­land that they were receiv­ing mul­ti­ple calls regard­ing a vehi­cle fire on the east­bound car­riage­way of the M56. Cheshire Police arrived and con­firmed that due to the load of the vehi­cle and the sever­ity of the fire, both car­riage­ways would need to be fully closed. The east­bound car­riage­way was stopped on their arrival and both sides were closed by 15:12.

M56 J12-J14 Tanker Fire

Traf­fic Offi­cers were promptly deployed by our North West Regional Con­trol Cen­tre to the area in order to assist with the clo­sures of the motor­way and our National Inci­dent Liai­son Officer’s (NILO) team began to update you of the clo­sures and the diver­sion details via our Social Media Chan­nels, local and national mes­sage signs and to the travel media, endeav­or­ing to  pro­vide as much infor­ma­tion, as early as pos­si­ble to avoid more traf­fic head­ing into the closures.

Upon the Fire ser­vice arrival and quick assess­ment, it became appar­ent this inci­dent was worse than first thought and the gas on board the tanker was quickly burn­ing and likely to explode. The Police and Fire ser­vice then imple­mented a 1500 metre exclu­sion zone from the scene, mak­ing the safety of the traf­fic close by their top pri­or­ity. Whilst the fire ser­vice began their long bat­tle with the fire, police removed all occu­pants from their vehi­cles and moved them to a place of safety. As a fur­ther safety pre­cau­tion, social media was uti­lized to advise local res­i­dents to stay in doors with all win­dows and doors closed, and at approx­i­mately 15:54 Helsby Rail­way sta­tion was advised to close the line between Helsby and Ellesmere Port.

M56 J12-J14

Traf­fic Offi­cers made releas­ing the trapped traf­fic as pri­or­ity as Police and Fire con­tin­ued to deal with the fire. Our units began turn­ing and releas­ing traf­fic at J12 at around 16:00. Know­ing this was going to take a long time to clear all the traf­fic, instruc­tions were issued for our Ser­vice Providers to make arrange­ments to remove the cen­tral reser­va­tion bar­rier for us to use as a fur­ther mea­sure to release traf­fic safely.Our ser­vice providers quickly responded and the bar­rier was removed with traf­fic being released from scene via a con­tra flow sys­tem by 17:26. All trapped traf­fic was cleared by around 18:40.

At around 18:00, due to con­ges­tion in the sur­round­ing area, it became nec­es­sary to extend the clo­sures to include the link roads from the M53 north and south­bound onto the M56.

M56 J12-J14

The Fire ser­vice con­tin­ued to work through the evening and into the night, deal­ing with the tanker. They deployed  to scene spe­cial­ist engi­neers who are experts in deal­ing with these types of inci­dents . Fol­low­ing the dous­ing of fire, the vehi­cle had to be left to cool before it could be recov­ered, in order to pre­vent fur­ther dam­age and/or re-igniting.  The fire ser­vice made reg­u­lar checks on the vehi­cle using spe­cial­ist equip­ment such as ther­mal imag­ing cam­eras to deter­mine when the vehi­cle was safe.

M56 tanker fire pic 1

M56 tanker fire pic2

The vehi­cle was declared safe and recov­ery was well under­way by 20:45. Work than began to remove the clo­sures in the sur­round­ing area. The M53 link road clo­sures and the east­bound main car­riage­way were both fully re-opened by 22:00. Recov­ery was com­pleted and the west­bound car­riage­way was fully re-opened under a rolling road block.

The dam­age to the car­riage­way, luck­ily did not extend passed the hard shoul­der and despite resur­fac­ing required to this sec­tion, all lanes fully open in both direc­tions at 23:45.

Did you find this bul­letin use­ful?  We really wel­come your feed­back.  Please click here to help us. Thank you.