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.

M6 J16-J15 clean up work

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.

M6 J16-J15 re-opening

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.


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