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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