M5 Closure Both Directions, Gloucestershire, Saturday 16 September 2017

Dur­ing the week­end of 16–17 Sep­tem­ber, the M5 in Glouces­ter­shire was closed in both direc­tions due to a seri­ous inci­dent. A com­mer­cial vehi­cle crossed from the south­bound car­riage­way through the cen­tral reser­va­tion and struck two other vehi­cles before com­ing to rest on the verge beside the north­bound carriageway.

At about 14:45 on Sat­ur­day 16 Sep­tem­ber, Avon & Som­er­set Police made us aware of a seri­ous col­li­sion affect­ing both car­riage­ways. We imme­di­ately set Vari­able
Mes­sag­ing Signs to warn road users approach­ing the inci­dent, and deployed our Traf­fic Offi­cers who joined the emer­gency ser­vices at the scene.

Given the sever­ity of the inci­dent, the motor­way was closed in both direc­tions between junc­tions 14 and 16, and signed diver­sion routes were estab­lished using the A38 in South Glouces­ter­shire. We closed the north­bound car­riage­way from J16 as traf­fic wish­ing to con­tinue north would have had no suit­able diver­sion route from the M4. Addi­tional clo­sures were required at Almonds­bury Inter­change to pre­vent access to the north­bound M5 from the M4. We ini­tially deployed seven traf­fic offi­cer vehi­cles to install the road clo­sures, assist the affected traf­fic and sup­port the emer­gency
ser­vices at the scene.

Through­out the after­noon we worked closely with the emer­gency ser­vices to
co-ordinate our response to the inci­dent, both at the scene and com­mu­ni­cat­ing between our con­trol rooms. Once the road clo­sures had been installed, we began the oper­a­tion to release traf­fic trapped within those clo­sures. At 15.45, traf­fic on the
south­bound car­riage­way was able to pass the scene using the hard shoulder.

The com­plex nature of the inci­dent caused unfor­tu­nate but unavoid­able delays in releas­ing traf­fic trapped on the north­bound car­riage­way. Work­ing closely with the police we arranged for this traf­fic to be released past the inci­dent in lane 3.

Through­out the evening and through Sat­ur­day night, police col­li­sion inves­ti­ga­tion teams con­tin­ued their foren­sic work. While this was tak­ing place, we pre­pared for the clear-up and repair work to begin. Once inves­ti­ga­tions were com­plete on the
south­bound car­riage­way, we car­ried out repairs to the cen­tral reser­va­tion bar­rier and the car­riage­way was re-opened at 06:00 on Sun­day morning.

Inves­ti­ga­tion and recov­ery work con­tin­ued on the north­bound car­riage­way through­out Sun­day and into Mon­day. Just after 21:00 on Sun­day evening, the north­bound
car­riage­way was re-opened. Lane 1 remained closed until around 17:00 on the
Mon­day after­noon to allow the police to com­plete their inves­ti­ga­tion on the verge and hard shoulder.

Addi­tional VMS were set dur­ing Mon­day to inform cus­tomers of the con­tin­u­ing lane clo­sure. Through­out the inci­dent, we mon­i­tored the delays caused by the clo­sures, and con­tin­ued to share this infor­ma­tion with our cus­tomers and the media.

Our deep­est sym­pa­thies remain with all those involved in this tragic inci­dent. We would like to thank the pub­lic for their patience dur­ing this very dif­fi­cult and pro­tracted road closure.