M62 Closure Eastbound, West Yorkshire. Wednesday 16 December 2015
The M62 in West Yorkshire was closed eastbound between J29 and J30 due to a fire involving a heavy goods vehicle. This incident also resulted in a large volume of diesel spilling on to the carriageway, which damaged the road surface and required resurfacing repair work.
On the morning of Wednesday the 16 December 2015, at approximately 06:40 hours, our North East Regional Control Centre was made aware by our contractors, of a Heavy Goods Vehicle which was on fire and stranded in a live lane of traffic. The vehicle was on the M62 eastbound between J29 (the intersection with the M1) and J30 in West Yorkshire and was carrying a full load of underlay.
Traffic was halted prior to the incident on the M62 eastbound and our Traffic Officers assisted West Yorkshire Police in closing the exit slip roads from the M1 north and southbound onto the M62 eastbound, to prevent further traffic from joining the M62 and becoming trapped in the incident traffic.
With traffic now held on the M62 eastbound prior to the incident, this allowed West Yorkshire Fire Service to assess the situation and tackle the blaze.
For the safety of road users the eastbound carriageway was closed at 07:20 hours and a diversion route was implemented. The diversion route allowed motorists travelling on the M62 eastbound to exit at J29 and join the M1 northbound allowing progress northbound so customers could exit the M1 at J44 which would allow them to join the A639. Continuing on the A639 the diversion route took motorists onto the A642 which led to J30 of the M62 where they could re-join the M62 eastbound. This diversion route was marked with a solid square symbol on hard signage.
Our North East Regional Control Centre and National Traffic Operations Centre issued warnings on the electronic variable message signs to make motorists aware of the incident. Signs were also set across the region and further afield. Our National Incident Liaison Officers briefed the national and local media and also delivered information via regional twitter feeds and our Highways England website breaking news section
Later in the morning, the M62 westbound between J30 – J29 was temporarily closed to allow our Traffic Officers and West Yorkshire Police to safely remove traffic trapped on that carriageway due to congestion at the Lofthouse Interchange. This assisted taking traffic away from the incident which was intending to merge onto the M1 southbound.
Whilst West Yorkshire Fire Service continued to dampen down the fire a heavy wrecker was requested to assist in debris clearance and a specialist clean-up crew was deployed to deal with a diesel spillage as the heavy goods vehicle had spilt half of its fuel tank across the carriageway which also ran into nearby gullies.
2 large recovery trailers were required to remove the heavy goods vehicle’s tractor unit and trailer and the use of a fork lift truck was required. The recovery was not straight forward as the remaining diesel left in the lorries tank had to be drained before the vehicle was moved, as there was a further risk that the remaining diesel could also spill onto the carriageway.
Recovery operations were fully completed by 11:47 hours which allowed clean-up work and assessment of any damage to the carriageway to commence. This was a big task due to amount of debris on scene and 3 tipper trucks as well as the use of skips were required to clear vast amounts of debris away from the carriageway.
Once the diesel spillage had been cleared and the gulley’s had been drained by specialist cleaners, at 13:46 hours our contractors could finally assess damage caused to the road by the fire and diesel spill. It was deemed that a significant amount of damage had been caused and all 4 lanes need plaining and full resurfacing. As contractors had resources in place, plaining work commenced straight away and once completed resurfacing work started at 18:23 hours. White lining and stud replacement work was required once resurfacing of all 4 lanes had been completed. After a significant amount of work to restore the carriageway, it was confirmed by our North East Regional Control Centre that all works had been completed and the road closure was removed at 23:22 hours.
Throughout this incident, Highways England updated customers via our websitewww.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/ and via our regional twitter feeds @HighwaysNEAST and @HighwaysYORKS.
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