A1 Closure Both Directions, Lincolnshire. Thursday 14 May 2015

The A1 in Lin­colnshire was closed in both direc­tions between the A46 Newark-on-Trent and the A52 Grantham, due to a seri­ous col­li­sion involv­ing a HGV and High­ways Eng­land Impact Pro­tec­tion Vehi­cle result­ing in 2 minor injuries to those involved. Both vehi­cles caught fire requir­ing the car­riage­way to be closed in both direc­tions for exten­sive clean-up and recov­ery work.

At approx­i­mately 01:52 our East Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre was noti­fied of an inci­dent that had occurred on the A1 south­bound and that the car­riage­way was blocked between the B6326 near Fer­n­wood and the B1174 near Great Gonerby. A High­ways Eng­land Impact Pro­tec­tion Vehi­cle was in the process of remov­ing a clo­sure that had been in place for essen­tial car­riage­way main­te­nance work. A HGV struck the Impact Pro­tec­tion Vehi­cle, result­ing in both vehi­cles catch­ing fire. Lin­colnshire Police were called imme­di­ately, and shortly after their arrival on scene, Lin­colnshire Fire and Res­cue were deployed to deal with the two vehi­cle fires. Due to the seri­ous­ness of the inci­dent, police imme­di­ately imple­mented a full car­riage­way clo­sure in both direc­tions and a local diver­sion was put in place. Our national teams started to push this infor­ma­tion out to the media and via our Twit­ter chan­nels and High­ways Eng­land Break­ing News, as well as set­ting mes­sage signs fur­ther afield to warn you of the inci­dent. It was hoped that as the inci­dent occurred on the south­bound car­riage­way, once the fire ser­vice had fin­ished damp­ing down the north­bound car­riage­way would be able to re-open.  It quickly became appar­ent that this inci­dent would be pro­tracted as the HGV was car­ry­ing fresh fruit in wooden boxes. The boxes kept reignit­ing despite the best efforts of the fire ser­vice and thick drift­ing smoke meant the north­bound car­riage­way could not re-open until the fire was extinguished.

By this point, prepa­ra­tions were being made to release all traf­fic that was trapped between the clo­sure points. Our National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cers kept you reg­u­larly updated with progress and let you know when trapped traf­fic was being released. At approx­i­mately 06:22, the deci­sion was made to amended the clo­sure points to bet­ter accom­mo­date a strate­gic diver­sion route, mean­ing the road was now closed between the A46 (Newark-on-Trent) and the A52 (Grantham). South­bound traf­fic was advised to fol­low the dia­mond diver­sion sym­bol and join the A46 south­bound to Sax­on­dale and then A52 east­bound to the A1 and Grantham. North­bound diver­sion was the above route in reverse, fol­low­ing the cir­cle diver­sion sym­bol. These diver­sion routes were dis­sem­i­nated via Twit­ter, High­ways Eng­land Break­ing News, reports to the media and elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sage Signs on the M18, A1M and other major roads on the approach to this inci­dent. We pushed out as much infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble, via as many chan­nels avail­able to us, to enable you to make informed deci­sions about your jour­neys. Unfor­tu­nately there were util­ity com­pany road­works on the A52 west­bound that affected the north­bound diver­sion route. Our regional teams liaised with the util­ity com­pany to see if the lane clo­sure could be removed but, due to the nature of the works being car­ried out, it could not. The lane clo­sure caused addi­tional delays on the north­bound diver­sion route dur­ing the morn­ing peak period. We con­tin­ued to liaise with util­ity con­trac­tors on site to ensure that the pri­or­ity and sequenc­ing of the tem­po­rary traf­fic lights at the loca­tion was man­aged to min­imise con­ges­tion. We could not change the north­bound diver­sion route either as there are no other routes, suit­able for all types of vehi­cles, avail­able in that area.

At approx­i­mately 12:53, con­trac­tors on scene advised our East Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre that the HGV fire had now been fully extin­guished and the north­bound car­riage­way had re-opened. Our national teams imme­di­ately pushed this pos­i­tive mes­sage out on Twit­ter and elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sage Signs were set advis­ing “A1 North­bound After A52 Now Open”. Hav­ing assessed the dam­age to the car­riage­way, it was deemed that re-surfacing and white lin­ing would be required. This would not be able to start until recov­ery was com­plete. Once the scene had been made safe, prepa­ra­tions for recov­ery got under­way. Again, this was pro­tracted due to the nature of the load the HGV was car­ry­ing, and the fact that the HGV had become embed­ded on the cen­tral reser­va­tion bar­rier caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dam­age. Our con­trac­tors had all the mate­ri­als and equip­ment to repair the road and bar­rier on standby ready to act as soon as recov­ery was com­plete. Our recov­ery con­trac­tors con­tin­ued to work through­out the after­noon and by 17:20 the vehi­cle had been recov­ered. Our con­trac­tors then began work to resur­face the road and by 20:30 the dam­aged road sur­face had been removed and the new road sur­face laid. Our con­trac­tors then had to wait for the new road sur­face to cool suf­fi­ciently to begin the white lin­ing. This was com­pleted at around 22:40 and by 22:50 our con­trac­tors began to remove the clo­sure.  The road was fully re-opened at 00:20 with our national teams push­ing this news out to the local and national media and set­ting mes­sage signs across the region and fur­ther afield stat­ing, “A1 South­bound Now Open Newark”.

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