M27 Closure J8-J9 Eastbound, Hampshire. Thursday March 26 2015

The M27 in Hamp­shire was closed east­bound between junc­tions J8-J9 due to a seri­ous col­li­sion involv­ing 4 cars and a HGV. There was 1 fatal­ity and 7 other injuries reported. The road was closed for over 17 hours with com­plex police inves­ti­ga­tion and pro­tracted recov­ery work being car­ried out. The road had to be resur­faced and delays in the area peaked at 2 hours over what they would nor­mally be.

At approx­i­mately 09:17 on Thurs­day 26 March 2015 Hamp­shire police informed us they were get­ting reports of a seri­ous col­li­sion and vehi­cle fire on the M27 east­bound near J8. Our South East Regional Con­trol Cen­tre oper­a­tors checked CCTV in the area and quickly found the inci­dent. They reported that the car­riage­way was blocked and there was a vehi­cle on fire. They set signs and sig­nals on the M27 and sur­round­ing roads to warn you of the inci­dent. They updated Hamp­shire police on what they could see and dis­patched our Traf­fic Offi­cer crews to the scene. At 09:35 Hamp­shire police had blocked the west­bound car­riage­way between junc­tions J9-J8 whilst the fire ser­vice tack­led the blaze. The police asked us to close the motor­way at J9 east­bound and sent another Hamp­shire unit to close the west­bound car­riage­way at J10 and J9 west­bound access slip. Our national teams started to push this infor­ma­tion out to the media and via our Twit­ter chan­nels as well as set­ting mes­sage signs fur­ther afield to warn you of the inci­dent. We ensured that the diver­sion routes were signed and the details pub­lished and broad­cast  by local and national media.

M27 J8-J9 RTC Incident Scene and Diversion

It was clear from early on that this was a very seri­ous inci­dent and the road would be closed for a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time. Whilst the police and fire ser­vice dealt with the inci­dent scene, our South East teams began to make plans to free traf­fic trapped by the inci­dent. They also began to put in place a plan to deal with any infra­struc­ture dam­age once the scene was handed over to us.  At 09:40 Hamp­shire police had closed the west­bound car­riage­way at J10 and by 09:55 the east­bound car­riage­way was closed at J8. To enable us to re-open the west­bound car­riage­way as soon as pos­si­ble, one of our Traf­fic Offi­cer crews col­lected a set of inci­dent screens to take to the scene. Inci­dent screens are con­tained within a small trailer and kept at strate­gic loca­tions on the motor­way net­work. Deploy­ing these screens would allow us to obscure the inci­dent scene from view to firstly pro­tect the dig­nity of those involved in the col­li­sion and to also pre­vent dri­vers slow­ing down to look at what is hap­pen­ing. At 10:27 we began to turn trapped traf­fic on the west­bound car­riage­way. The west­bound car­riage­way was attended to first as there were fewer vehi­cles to turn and as soon as the inci­dent screens were in place we could open that car­riage­way com­pletely. At 11:00 our offi­cers had deployed the inci­dent screens and by 11:36 all trapped traf­fic on the west­bound car­riage­way had been released. At 11:49 the west­bound car­riage­way had fully opened.

M27 J8-J9 Incident Screens 2

We were now able to move addi­tional traf­fic offi­cers patrols to the east­bound car­riage­way and at 12:09 we began to turn trapped traf­fic. The emer­gency ser­vices con­tin­ued to work to make the scene safe and allow Hamp­shire police to begin col­li­sion inves­ti­ga­tion. Due to the large amount of vehi­cles that needed to be turned we knew the task would take sev­eral hours. We appre­ci­ated that peo­ple had already been there for over 3 hours so we knew we needed to do more to help you. At 13:32  a spe­cial­ist team from our con­trac­tors were almost at the scene to cut the cen­tral reser­va­tion bar­rier so that we could escort traf­fic on to the west­bound car­riage­way to exit the motor­way the wrong way at J9 west­bound access slip. We con­firmed with Hamp­shire police the point at which we could cut the bar­rier as we could not impact on their inves­ti­ga­tion area. At 13:53 our con­trac­tors had removed a sec­tion of cen­tral reser­va­tion bar­rier and Hamp­shire police had blocked the west­bound car­riage­way prior to J9. We began to escort vehi­cles through the gap in the bar­rier and off the motor­way. Our offi­cers con­tin­ued to turn trapped traf­fic from the rear of the queue and at 14:58 all trapped traf­fic had been released. The west­bound car­riage­way re-opened but we had to keep lane 3 closed so we could repair the cen­tral reser­va­tion barrier.

M27 J8-J9 RTC barrier cut 2

Hamp­shire police con­tin­ued their col­li­sion inves­ti­ga­tion in to the evening and at 17:17 recov­ery of the vehi­cles involved com­menced.  By 18:35 the recov­ery oper­a­tion was com­plete and our offi­cers removed the inci­dent screens that were deployed ear­lier in the day. This was the first oppor­tu­nity that our con­trac­tors had to assess the dam­age to the car­riage­way. They found fire dam­age and oil / fuel dam­age across all 3 lanes that extended for 110 metres. This would require imme­di­ate resur­fac­ing and would be a large and time con­sum­ing job. Our con­trac­tors can­celled non-essential works in the region to divert resources and com­plete this task as soon as pos­si­ble.  There were long delays on the east­bound car­riage­way until around 23:00 with our Traf­fic Offi­cers con­stantly patrolling the area to clear bro­ken down vehi­cles. Our con­trac­tors worked through­out the night to repair and resur­face the car­riage­way. The work was com­pleted at around 03:30 with the road full re-opening by 04:19.

Through­out this inci­dent the High­ways Agency updated cus­tomers via our web­site www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/ and via our regional twit­ter feeds @HATraffic_seast

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