M6 Closure J16-J15 Southbound, Cheshire / Staffordshire. Thursday 05 February 2015
The M6 was closed southbound on Tuesday 05 February between junctions J16-J15 due to a collision between 2 HGVs. One of the HGVs trailers became detached causing damage to the carriageway. There was also a significant amount of debris and fluid spillages at scene that required specialist clean up.
At 02:43 our West Midlands Regional Control Centre were sent a log from Staffordshire police control informing them that they were receiving reports of a serious collison somewhere near junction J16 of the M6 southbound. Traffic Officers from our Hilton Park outstation were immediately dispatched and our operators began setting signs and signals warning drivers there was an incident in the area. Our operators found the incident on camera and saw that the carriageway was blocked. They relayed this information to our Traffic Officers and the other emergency services that were already on their way. Our national teams began briefing the media and pushing the information out via our social media and web services.
Upon arrival it was obvious that this was a serious incident and the road would have to be closed. This posed a problem as J16 southbound exit had been closed for planned overnight roadworks on the A500 eastbound towards Stoke-on-Trent. The A500 is the agreed diversion for a closure of the M6 J16-J15 so we could not utilise this route while the roadworks were still in place. Our West Midlands Regional Control Centre liaised with the roadworks Traffic Safety Officer to see if it was possible to remove the roadworks. While this was being arranged our Traffic Officers suggested a plan to keep traffic moving. If they could open J16 southbound exit and keep the access on to the A500 eastbound closed, they could then send traffic up and over the junction to rejoin at J16 southbound access slip. They liaised with police officers on scene who said that this could not be allowed as one of the vehicles involved was partially blocking J16 southbound access slip. Until police investigation was complete, the trailer would have to stay where it was.
At 03:15 the Traffic Safety Officer of the A500 roadworks confirmed he could now remove them but this would take 30–40 minutes. At 03:44 the A500 roadworks were confirmed removed and we could now allow traffic to use the official diversion to J15. We set numerous message signs prior to J16 advising you to follow the hollow square symbol and our national team issued the full diversion route (via the A500 and A34) to the media and published it on our social media and web services. Now that we had a full closure of the carriageway and diversion in place we could begin to turn trapped traffic. This complex and protracted operation began at 04:09 with cars and vans being turned first. Due to the number of HGVs that had to be reversed back to J16, all trapped traffic was not clear until 06:39.
We were aware of the severe disruption this incident would cause throughout the West Midlands and North West regions. We fully briefed the national and local media outlets across those regions and ensured that information about the closure and delays was being displayed on all available motorway message signs. We set strategic diversion signs advising traffic from the north heading to Midlands and South to use the M1 and our Press Office and Operations Managers conducted interviews with the media. We continued to let you know as much information as we possibly could. Police investigation continued throughout the morning and was completed at approximately 05:53. Now that police investigation was complete the recovery and clean-up operation could commence. The recovery operation was complex and protracted and due to the nature of the vehicles involved, specialist equipment was needed. At 07:33 the vehicle that was blocking the southbound access slip at J16 was moved and by 07:38 we were diverting traffic up and over J16.
Our contractors noted that the carriageway had been damaged by the HGV trailer which had caused deep gouges in the carriageway. Although these would not have caused problems to larger vehicles, they would be dangerous to smaller vehicles and motorcycles so for safety reasons would have to be immediately repaired. The recovery operation continued and our contractors carried out repairs to the carriageway at the same time. By 10:19 the recovery operation was complete and the carriageway repairs nearly finished. At 11:26 we began making preparations to remove the total closure at J16. Traffic Officers from our North West Region working closely with our West Midlands Regional Control Centre implemented a rolling road block to allow the traffic management to be removed. At around 11:19 all lanes were open and traffic was flowing in 3 lanes with traffic conditions returning to normal by approximately 13:00.
Did you find this bulletin useful? We really welcome your feedback. Please click here to help us. Thank you.