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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