M6 Closure Southbound, Staffordshire, Wednesday 09 September 2015
The M6 in Staffordshire was closed southbound between Junction 16 and J15 due to a Heavy Goods Vehicle fire and subsequent road surface damage caused by radiated heat from the fire which required emergency repairs.
At approximately 14:14 our West Midlands Regional Control Centre became aware of an incident involving a Heavy Goods Vehicle on the southbound carriageway of the M6. CCTV images monitored at the control centre showed a large Articulated HGV on fire. Emergency Services were notified and were mobilised by their respective Control rooms. The fire at this time appeared to be confined to the back wheels of the HGV and confirmation was received at the Regional Control Centre that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) were accessing the M6 from J16. A short while later the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) were in attendance and they stopped the traffic, which at this stage was passing the incident using lane 3.
It was ascertained that the HGV was loaded with approximately 24 tonnes of MDF boarding and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service directed that this would need to be unloaded at scene. Subsequently it became apparent that the incident was likely to be protracted. At 14:43 CMPG took the decision to close the carriageway at J16. The fire at this stage had taken hold of the vehicle.
Due to the location of the fire Staffordshire FRS were exhausting their water supplies and they requested additional water bowsers to scene in order to tackle the fire effectively. With the road now closed by our Traffic Officers with the assistance of CMPG traffic was directed off the M6 at J16 to follow a robust diversion indicated by the Hollow Square symbol which routed traffic along the A500 from J16 to J15.
Operations continued at scene to extinguish the fire, and preparations were also being put into place to recover the HGV, clear the burnt load, and resurface the road; although at this stage the exact extent of damage to the carriageway was unknown and would require further inspection. By 16:20 rearward relief of the trapped traffic behind the incident was underway and delays of 90 minutes were being reported by our National Traffic Operations Centre (NTOC).
Staffordshire FRS were relaying water to scene using multiple water bowsers and by 16:12 were hoping to get lane 3 running past the incident. The Police had left the scene by now and overall control of the incident lay with the Fire Service.
By 18:25 all the trapped traffic had been cleared behind the scene. Vehicle recovery had arrived at scene to assist with removal of the fire damaged debris and ascertain the requirements for recovering the HGV. Delays remained constant at 90 minutes although earlier had peaked at 120 minutes. Work continued between the Fire Service and the recovery operators to remove the load and spread it on the carraigeway in order to dampen it down prior to removal.
At 21:21 the HGV was recovered and removed from scene. The load remained well alight and Fire crews continued to extinguish it in order for it to be removed. A sweeper arrived on scene at 23:26 to assist with carriageway clearance. Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service deemed the fire extinguished at 00:11 and subsequently left scene and preparations were put into place circa 01:40 to begin re-surfacing. The road remained closed throughout this period however by 23:26 delays had dropped to 60 minutes, and by 01:40 (10/09/15) were significantly lower at 10 minutes. At 04:13 the road was re-opened with re-surfacing completed. All lanes were once again available and the diversion was removed.
Our National Incident Liaison Officers produced regular updated reports on the progress of the incident to the National and Local media and third party traffic information providers (such as the BBC) provided regular updates on the closure and its impact via both online and local and national radio. The Highways England Press Office also issued a briefing to the media regarding this incident and detailing what was happening.
Highways England would like to thank motorists for their patience during this lengthy incident.
Did you find this bulletin useful? We really welcome your feedback. Please click here to help us. Thank you.