M1 Closure J16 - J18 Northbound, Northamptonshire. Tuesday 07 July 2015

The M1 in Northamp­ton­shire was closed north­bound between junc­tions 16 and 18  through the morn­ing of Tues­day 7th July due to a seri­ous col­li­sion, involv­ing two HGVs and a van, which resulted in a seri­ous injury.  The car­riage­way then remained closed for vehi­cle recov­ery, exten­sive clean-up and emer­gency repair work to the dam­aged road surface.

At 22:39 on the evening of Mon­day 6th July, our regional con­trol cen­tre in the East Mid­lands was alerted by Northamp­ton­shire police to reports of a col­li­sion on the M1. High­ways Eng­land traf­fic offi­cers were imme­di­ately dis­patched to the scene and upon arrival, found that two HGVs and a van had col­lided.  Crews from East Mid­lands Ambu­lance Ser­vice and Northamp­ton­shire Fire & Res­cue ser­vice were also in attendance.

As a result of the col­li­sion, the first HGV had rup­tured its fuel tank, spilling a large quan­tity of diesel onto the road sur­face.  The sec­ond HGV was trans­port­ing ani­mal offal which had also spilt-out onto the road sur­face, mix­ing with the diesel fuel.  In
addi­tion, a large vol­ume of debris was spread across the road.

Orig­i­nally, two lanes were closed at the scene and traf­fic con­tin­ued to pass with­out delay in the one remain­ing lane which still remained open.  But it became nec­es­sary to fully close the north­bound car­riage­way at 01:57 so that Northamp­ton­shire police could safely con­duct a full inves­ti­ga­tion.  No traf­fic was ‘trapped’ within the
clo­sure once the car­riage­way was closed.

A clearly signed diver­sion route was imple­mented via the nearby A5, direct­ing motorists to re-join the motor­way at junc­tion 18.  Note that there is no facil­ity to re-join the M1 north­bound at junc­tion 17.

To warn motorists, our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre acti­vated the elec­tronic motor­way sig­nage across a wide area, encour­ag­ing alter­na­tive routes such as the M40 and the A1(M) to avoid the clo­sure, while our National Inci­dent Liai­son
Offi­cers tweeted real-time updates to our Twit­ter fol­low­ers, pub­lished up-to-date infor­ma­tion to our web­site and answered ques­tions from the media.  In addi­tion, our 24/7 Cus­tomer Con­tact Cen­tre advis­ers were also avail­able and on-hand to pro­vide the very lat­est travel infor­ma­tion over the phone.

Once Northamp­ton­shire police had com­pleted their inves­ti­ga­tion at the scene, the car­riage­way con­tin­ued to remain closed so that we could imme­di­ately set to work with our spe­cial­ist recov­ery agents to remove the vehi­cles involved in the col­li­sion, clear the exten­sive debris and treat the high vol­ume of diesel and offal that had been spilt onto the road sur­face.

As we con­tin­ued to work hard at scene to clear the inci­dent, it soon became appar­ent that the dam­age to the road sur­face was exten­sive and that 1,200 square metres of road sur­face would need to be replaced imme­di­ately, requir­ing up to twenty trucks to trans­port approx­i­mately 200 tonnes of fresh tar­mac to the scene.  Once all of the
tar­mac had been deliv­ered, laid and cooled, then re-painting of the white lines and road mark­ings would also have to take place.

By 06:30, queu­ing traf­fic had started to build on the approach to the clo­sure at
junc­tion 16 and by 07:45, the queues had reached back to junc­tion 15, caus­ing a 60+ minute delay to motorists.

Util­is­ing a large num­ber of spe­cial­ist vehi­cles and equip­ment, we worked hard through­out the morn­ing to resur­face as quickly and as safely as pos­si­ble so that by a lit­tle after mid­day (12:05), we had suc­cess­fully com­pleted all of the clean-up, removed all of the vehi­cles, laid all of the replace­ment tar­mac and repaired all of the dam­age, mak­ing the road safe to re-open again.

High­ways Eng­land would like to thank motorists for their patience dur­ing this lengthy inci­dent and to res­i­dents in the sur­round­ing area for the added
con­ges­tion on local roads.

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