M20 Closure Both Directions J1 - J4 Kent. Saturday 27 August 2016
The M20 in Kent was closed in both directions on Saturday 27 August 2016. The coastbound (eastbound) carriageway was closed between J1, the junction with M25 near Swanley and J4, near Leybourne. The opposite Londonbound (westbound) carriageway was closed between J4 and J2. A HGV transporting a digger struck a footbridge which spanned the motorway. The M26 was also closed eastbound between the M25 J5 and the M20 J3.
Although the motorway had to be closed in both directions, the incident actually
happened on the London
bound carriageway. At around 12.15pm on Saturday
afternoon, a digger which was being transported by a lorry hit a pedestrian footbridge that spanned the motorway, resulting in the footbridge collapsing and the motorway being closed. Diversions were quickly put into place to route traffic around the closure.
Highways England worked hard with our partners and the emergency services to help release those motorists caught inside the closure of the motorway. Motorists that were stuck near the scene of the incident were all released by 3.30pm on Saturday.
Throughout the duration of the motorway closure, information was provided to our customers in real-time via our electronic variable message signs (VMS) at the
roadside, via the media, on our twitter accounts, via the Highways England websites and to customers calling our customer contact centre.
Following an on-site police investigation site, the scene was then handed over to Highways England just after 6pm on Saturday.
Highways England and its contractors then immediately set about removing the
vehicles involved in the incident and worked around the clock through Saturday night and into Sunday, to cut-up and remove the section of bridge which had fallen onto the carriageway.
Two cranes– one 250 tonne and the other 350 tonne, were used in this very complex operation to clear the scene.
Also on Saturday and overnight into Sunday, structural engineers made robust inspections of the remaining elevated section of the footbridge. These inspections showed that the structure was safe and the operation to remove it is being carried out between 8pm on Friday 2 September and 6am on Monday 5 September.
Once the road surface was clear, experts assessed the condition of the
Londonbound carriageway. Repairs were then carried out which allowed the
carriageway to be safely reopened. As an additional safety measure, a temporary 50mph speed limit was introduced in the area. Drivers are reminded to abide by this limit which is in place for the safety of all road users.
To allow the remaining section of footbridge to be safely removed, the coastbound M20 will be closed between junctions 1 and 4 and Londonbound between junctions 4 and 2, from 8pm on Friday 2 September until 6am on Monday 5 September. The coastbound M26 will also be closed from the M25 junction 5 during that period.
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