M1 Closure J20 - J18 Southbound, Leicestershire. Monday 02 March 2015
The M1 in Leicestershire was closed on Monday between junctions J20 and J18 due to a multiple vehicle accident involving four Heavy Goods Vehicles and a car. Two seriously injured casualties were involved as a consequence of the collision. The accident occurred within a roadwork’s enclosure.
Around 15:18 operators at our East Midlands Regional Control Centre became aware of an accident on the M1 involving four Heavy Goods Vehicles and a car. Highways Agency Traffic Officers along with Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service responded. Upon arrival of the emergency services it was discovered that two occupants of the car were trapped and following an assessment of the incident scene an Air Ambulance was requested to attend. The road was subsequently closed southbound and a robust symbol led diversion route was instigated with traffic directed to follow the solid square symbol which required traffic to exit at J20 and join the A4303 to the A5 south then continuing along the A428 at Crick to continue to J18 of the M1. M6 traffic bound for the M1 was directed to exit at J2 on to M69 and exit at J1 to take the A5 south and join the above diversion route at A4303 Magna Park jct.
At circa 16:00 the northbound carriageway was blocked with traffic halted to allow two Air Ambulances to attend the incident. Work continued at scene to resolve the accident and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue directed their efforts to extricate the two trapped casualties. This was achieved around 16:48 when the two Air Ambulances departed and Leicestershire Police began their collision investigations.
Our Highways Agency Traffic Officers worked with the Police to release the trapped traffic caught behind the accident and in front of the closure. This was achieved by releasing the traffic along the link road from the M6 southbound to the M1 southbound and trapped traffic from the M1 southbound within J19 was run past the scene of the accident. Delays by this time had risen sharply and were in the region of 60 minutes on the M1 and 40 minutes on the M6 southbound between J3 and J2.
A protracted Police investigation ensued and recovery operations commenced and delays remained constant on the M1 and M6, 60 minutes and 40 minutes respectively above the normal travel time. The diversion routes were working well however and helping to keep the delays to a minimum.
At 19:20 Leicestershire Police confirmed conclusion of their investigations and around this time the recovery of the vehicles involved was also near completion. Our Highways Agency contractors began operations to clean up the carriageway to remove vehicle debris and spillages. We still were reporting long delays on the M1 at this time, however the delays on the M6 had cleared.
The closures were removed and the road reopened (M1) southbound at 20:50 following a determination by the Police that it was now safe to do so. Our systems reported residual delays of 30 minutes above the normal profiled journey time. Throughout the incident we endeavored to keep motorists updated and used our breaking news website and Twitter feeds to disseminate information as it developed.
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