M1 Closure J11 - J12 Northbound, Bedfordshire. Friday 01 / Saturday 02 April 2016

The M1 in Bed­ford­shire was closed north­bound between J11 and J12 on the evening of  1st April due to a col­li­sion between a car and an Artic­u­lated Heavy Goods Vehi­cle. As a result of the col­li­sion a large amount of diesel was spilt onto the road surface.

The M1 in Bed­ford­shire was closed over the week­end of Fri­day 01 April and Sat­ur­day 02 April for exten­sive repairs to the car­riage­way fol­low­ing a road traf­fic col­li­sion between a lorry and car which occurred shortly after 8.30pm on Fri­day evening. The pro­longed clo­sure was required for vehi­cle recov­ery work but pri­mar­ily due to the very large diesel spillage which con­t­a­m­i­nated the car­riage­way sur­face and resulted in approx­i­mately 2000 square metres of resur­fac­ing. Essen­tially some 330 tonnes of road sur­face had to be planed clear and replaced.

At 20:33 Bed­ford­shire Police noti­fied our East Regional Con­trol Cen­tre that they were get­ting reports of a seri­ous col­li­sion inci­dent on the M1 located between the slip roads at J11 with the HGV leak­ing fuel and the car reported to be embed­ded into it. Thank­fully the occu­pants of the car were able to get them­selves clear of the car after impact but the report stated the HGV dri­ver had not exited the cab of his vehi­cle. Result­ing from the report all the emer­gency ser­vices were deployed includ­ing Bed­ford­shire Fire and Res­cue and Ambu­lance Ser­vice. Imme­di­ately High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers were deployed to assist our police col­leagues by despatch­ers at our Regional Con­trol Cen­tre. Our oper­a­tors trained CCTV cam­era at J11 onto the inci­dent and given extent of the sit­u­a­tion our con­trac­tors were noti­fied very shortly afterwards.

With approach­ing traf­fic now stopped sig­nals were set for the M1 closed at J11. By 20:45 oper­a­tors at our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre were set­ting vari­able mes­sage signs on road that the M1 was closed. Essen­tially, this cov­ered strate­gic routes approach­ing the north­bound clo­sure from the East and South East regions of Eng­land. Our National Inci­dent Liai­son Team issued updates on twit­ter and break­ing news was set on the High­ways Eng­land Cor­po­rate Web­site and Traf­fic Eng­land Web­site to inform cus­tomers of the unplanned clo­sure. Addi­tion­ally, reports were issued to the media.

One of the imme­di­ate con­cerns on the ground was to man­age the trapped traf­fic which was caught behind the col­li­sion and some were reported revers­ing back in an attempt to get back far enough so they could exit the M1 via the J11 north­bound exit slip road. Traf­fic Offi­cers were engaged in safely co-ordinating traf­fic clear­ing rear­ward and all trapped traf­fic was for­mally cleared by 21:28. In this regard it was for­tu­nate to have a nat­ural exit from the car­riage­way just rear of the col­li­sion incident.

Traf­fic was diverted to fol­low the Hol­low Tri­an­gle sym­bol led diversion.This took traf­fic via the A505 west­bound, to the Poyn­ters road exit where it con­tin­ued over 2 round­abouts onto Park Road. At the next round­about traf­fic took the first exit onto The Green and at the sec­ond round­about turned right onto the A5120 (Bed­ford Road) to re-join at the M1 at J12.

Simul­ta­ne­ously, our Area 8 con­trac­tors were deployed with the pur­pose of re-enforcing clo­sures and also with spill kits in order to treat the spillage. Given the extent of the spill it was reported from the scene that con­sid­er­a­tion had been given to call the Envi­ron­ment Agency how­ever it was decided there would be no require­ment for them to attend at this stage.

By 21:41 in the evening Bed­ford­shire Police had already arranged recov­ery for both of the vehi­cles in the col­li­sion and our Area 8 con­trac­tors were on scene with 30 bags of zorb (absorbent), to start to treat and clean up the spillage. Work ensued at a pace and around 5 min­utes past mid­night some 400 square metres of car­riage­way had been dug up, removed, and resur­faced on the main car­riage­way and the entry slip at J11. We treated this inci­dent as a pri­or­ity and planned roadwork’s north and south of this loca­tion were post­poned in order to allo­cate con­trac­tors and equip­ment to these emer­gency repairs.

By 02:47 fol­low­ing closer inspec­tion it was deter­mined that over 2000 square metres of car­riage­way (approx­i­mately 330 tonnes of road sur­face) would need to be dug up and removed and resur­faced. Plans were for­mu­lated and Asphalt sourced in order to carry this out. Work con­tin­ued through the night and into the next day. The  National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cer based at the National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre con­tin­ued to mon­i­tor the  sit­u­a­tion and ensured that strate­gic diver­sions were in place (dis­played on the many Vari­able Mes­sage signs) along the M20, M2, M25, M23, M4, M3, M1, M40.

At 10:00 we were able to con­firm that removal of the dam­aged road sur­face had been com­pleted and resur­fac­ing was under­way. Our sys­tems were by this time report­ing delays of 33 min­utes between J10 and J11 (this was indica­tive of the peak delay data we received). The north­bound entry slip at J11 was treated as a pri­or­ity as the inten­tion was to be able to divert traf­fic via the exit and entry slips (up and over) and thus be able to remove the more lengthy diver­sion. This work con­tin­ued through the morn­ing and into the after­noon. This plan of action was achieved circa 13:50 when the north­bound entry slip at J11 was reopened. Fur­ther lanes were reopened at 15:39 with lanes 2, 3, and 4 made avail­able. A num­ber of bro­ken down vehi­cles hin­dered oper­a­tions to restore full capac­ity and these had to be removed first. This was achieved at 18:33 and all lanes were made avail­able once more and the inci­dent cleared.


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