M40 Closure Northbound, Oxfordshire/ Warwickshire, Tuesday 23 May 2017.

The M40 was closed north­bound between J11 (Ban­bury) and J12 (Gay­don) due to a seri­ous col­li­sion involv­ing 3 heavy goods vehicles.

At approx­i­mately 02:40 hrs, War­wick­shire Police made our col­leagues at the High­ways Eng­land Regional Con­trol Cen­tre (WMRCC) aware of a minor traf­fic col­li­sion involv­ing mul­ti­ple vehi­cles. Imme­di­ately the WMRCC Oper­a­tor set 50 MPH speeds and acci­dent VMS (vari­able mes­sage signs) through­out the junc­tion. A fur­ther call was received regard­ing the col­li­sion with reports of injuries from the scene. The ambu­lance ser­vice was advised and deployed an ambu­lance to scene. When War­wick­shire Police arrived at scene they stopped all traf­fic, fully block­ing the car­riage­way. Vari­able Mes­sage Signs (VMS) at the road­side were imme­di­ately acti­vated to warn road users of the closed lanes.

The ambu­lance ser­vice con­firmed that peo­ple were trapped and a large diesel spillage was across the car­riage­way. The Ambu­lance Con­trol Room con­firmed with WMRCC that there are two sep­a­rate col­li­sions at scene, the sec­ond one a seri­ous col­li­sion between three HGV’s.

War­wick­shire Police advised the High­ways Eng­land Regional Con­trol Cen­tre (WMRCC) that injuries were seri­ous from scene and that the M40 would need to be closed at J11. WMRCC then advised the area team of the inci­dent and informed them of the lat­est updates regard­ing casu­al­ties, spillages and road clo­sures. WMRCC then informed Our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre (NTOC) in Birm­ing­ham, enabling our National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cers (NILO) to pub­lish infor­ma­tion on our web­site and to engage with cus­tomers via our @HighwaysWMIDS and @HighwaysEAST Twit­ter feeds. The NILO also informed the travel media and pub­lished a break­ing news mes­sage on our website.

Traf­fic Offi­cers arrived at the inci­dent and requested a sec­ondary crew for assis­tance in clos­ing the car­riage­way at J11, con­firm­ing that there was no way that trapped traf­fic would be able to pass the scene and con­firm­ing that there was also sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier dam­age from the ini­tial col­li­sion. The NILO at this point con­firmed that there was 0.6 miles of queu­ing traf­fic behind the inci­dent. The Ambu­lance ser­vice con­firmed that one per­son was heav­ily trapped in one of the HGV’s and that the inci­dent may be ongo­ing for some time. The Fire ser­vice was requested to attend.

The Fire crews arrived and started to work at the scene. Traf­fic Offi­cers began to imple­ment a rolling road block to imple­ment the full clo­sure at J11 with a sec­ondary Police force (Thames Val­ley Police) en route to assist with the clo­sures. Thames Val­ley Police arrived and closed the entry slip road. Clo­sures were soon in place and all traf­fic was released again.
Traf­fic Man­age­ment Oper­a­tors at NTOC set strate­gic diver­sions on the Vari­able Mes­sage Signs to push traf­fic away from the inci­dent encour­ag­ing cus­tomers to con­sider using M1 north and M6 north for the Midlands.

Unfor­tu­nately, Police con­firmed that one casu­alty had suf¬fered fatal injuries, and that the road would have to remain closed for most of the morn­ing as Police acci­dent inves­ti­ga­tions had to take place. The area team arrived at scene and imple­mented a full chap­ter 8 clo­sure at J11 and on J11 north­bound entry slip road.
Soon Trapped traf­fic began to be turned using rear­ward relief. Traf­fic was turned to head south on the north­bound car­riage­way and exit via the J11 exit slip road. Police con­firmed that Police Inves­ti­ga­tion team were now on scene and Inves­ti­ga­tions were under way mak­ing High­ways Eng­land aware of nearly a full HGV’s fuel tank of diesel across lanes 1, 2 and 3. Plus 18 posts and 20 beams of bar­rier dam­age now con­firmed from scene.

At 05:25 Traf­fic Offi­cers con­firmed that rear­ward relief of trapped traf­fic was going well and 50% of vehi­cles had been released. Recov­ery was then requested for all vehi­cles and recov­ery vehi­cles were quickly dis­patched. At 07:42 hrs it was con­firmed that all trapped traf­fic was cleared and any vehi­cles still at scene were to be inves­ti­gated as part of the wider scene. Turn­ing trapped traf­fic is a time con­sum­ing oper­a­tion, espe­cially when there are sig­nif­i­cant queues involved. If you con­sider in 3 miles of queues on the M40 actu­ally cre­ates 9 miles of sta­tion­ary vehi­cles if you incor­po­rate all 3 lanes. Cars are turned first to cre­ate space to allow HGV’s to con­duct three point turns, which in itself can take some time.

The High­ways Eng­land Regional Con­trol Cen­tre (WMRCC) made local busi­nesses aware of the inci­dent to allow them to con­tact large num­bers of staff due to use the M40 later that morn­ing. War­wick­shire and Northamp­ton­shire County Coun­cil were also informed. National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen¬tre sys­tems were mea­sur­ing 40 minute delays above pro­file jour­ney time on approach to the clo­sure at this time.

The area team had a sweeper wait­ing at scene to treat the spillage ready to start work once the scene was handed back to High­ways Eng­land after the under­taker had left the scene Police had com­pleted Inves­ti­ga­tions. A Hydro blaster was requested to attend scene to help with the clear up and heavy vehi­cle recov­ery vehi­cles soon arrived on scene.
Police advised High­ways Eng­land that acci­dent inves­ti­ga­tion was com­plete and once recov­ery was fin­ished, the scene would be passed back to High­ways Eng­land to treat the spillage, clear the car­riage­way and assess the bar­rier dam­age. At 12:43 Police advised that recov­ery was com­plete and the area team could begin clear­ing the car­riage­way. Con­trac­tors set to work with a Hydro blaster and Sweeper. Soon Traf­fic Offi­cers at scene con­firmed that the car­riage­way clean-up had been suc­cess­ful and the Hydro blaster had done its job. The bar­rier dam­age was close coned, with a view to repair overnight.

Next a Traf­fic Offi­cer vehi­cle trav­elled from J10 to J11 to check for any bro­ken down vehi­cles in the queues before the car­riage­way could be re-opened. The clo­sure being removed at 14:32 enabling our National Inci­dent liai­son Offi­cers (NILO) to pub¬lish reopen­ing infor­ma­tion on our web­site and to update our cus­tomers via our @HighwaysWMIDS and @HighwaysEAST Twit­ter feeds. The NILO also informed the travel media and updated the break­ing news mess­sage on our web­site. VMS (Vari­able Mes­sage Signs) were set on all approaches with the mes­sage ‘M40 J11-J12 NOW OPEN’ to effec­tively inform road users that they could once again use the M40.

We would like to thank road users for their patience whilst this inci­dent was ongoing.