M40 Closure J9-J10 Northbound, Oxfordshire. Saturday February 14 2015
The M40 in Oxfordshire was closed northbound between junctions J9-J10 due to a serious collision involving over 40 vehicles. Due to the significant amount of vehicles involved the road remained closed for several hours.
At 07:51 Thames Valley Police sent our East Regional Control Centre a log stating that they were receiving multiple reports of a serious collision involving a significant amount of vehicles. This was reported as somewhere on the M40 near Oxfordshire. Further calls from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Oxfordshire Ambulance Service reported the same. Our East Regional Control Centre operators began searching for the incident on CCTV but due to the foggy weather conditions in the area could not see anything. The Motorway Incident and Automatic Signalling System (MIDAS), that detects and automatically sets signals for queuing traffic, alerted our operators to the approximate location of the incident. They relayed this information to our Traffic Officer patrols who were already on their way to search the area. At around 08:03 one of our Traffic Officer patrols arrived on scene on the northbound carriageway and reported that multi vehicle collisions were blocking both carriageways between junctions J9-J10. They also said that the police, who had also just arrived on scene, had requested that the northbound carriageway be closed. Our national teams began briefing the local and national media and set message signs across the region and further afield to warn as many of you as possible of the road closure. We ensured that all our information services were publishing this information including the full tactical diversion route details. Our East Regional Control Centre instructed our Traffic Officers to switch their radios to a special shared incident channel which allowed a coordinated response between all the emergency services on scene.
At around 08:26 our Traffic Officers has stopped the northbound carriageway just prior to J9 and by 08:38 they had established a full carriageway closure. Our officers at scene were able to get 1 lane open past the scene on the southbound carriageway and requested incident screens be deployed so that the view of the northbound scene could be obscured. Incidents screens would allow more lanes to open on the southbound carriageway when they were installed. It was clear from the scale of the incident that the northbound closure would be in place for several hours. The fire and ambulance services on scene dealt with the multiple casualties with the police coordinating the management of the scene. Our priority was to release all trapped traffic on the northbound carriageway and keep traffic moving on the southbound carriageway. At 09:22 our Traffic Officers began to turn trapped traffic on the northbound carriageway. We liaised with Oxfordshire County Council to get the priority of the traffic lights around J9 and on the A34 altered so that the increased traffic volumes on their roads could be managed more effectively. By 10:42 our officers on the southbound carriageway had 2 lanes open past the scene and the earlier requested incident screens were deployed and installed by 10:48.
Our Traffic Officers continued to work hard throughout the morning and afternoon to clear the hundreds of vehicles that were trapped prior to the incident scene and by 13:19 all trapped traffic had been released. Police investigation work and clean-up work continued with the recovery of over 40 vehicles well under way. Our contractors and recovery agents deployed all available resources to the scene to help speed up the re-opening of the carriageway. At 15:22 enough vehicles on the northbound carriageway had been recovered to allow the incident screens and lane closure to be removed. Further sweeping and cleaning of lane 3 on the southbound carriageway was carried out and by 16:22 all lanes were open southbound. By 16:30 recovery and clean-up of the northbound carriageway was complete and all lanes were open from around 16:35. Delays in the area began to clear with traffic conditions returning to normal by around 17:15.
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