M62 Closure J21 – J20 Both Directions, Greater Manchester. Monday 04th July 2016
The M62 in Greater Manchester was closed in both directions between J20 – J21 on Monday 04th July due to a serious collision which occurred on the westbound carriageway after a vehicle on the eastbound carriageway crossed over. Full collision investigation and recovery work was required before the road could be fully re-opened.
The M62 in Greater Manchester near Milnrow was closed on the 04th July due to a fatal road traffic collision which kept the road closed for most of the late morning and afternoon. Shortly after 09:30 operators at our North West Regional Control Centre were informed by Police of an incident which had strewn debris across all lanes and a number of vehicles had been reported as in collision. This triggered immediate despatch of Highways England Traffic Officers to assist. At this time a number of resources were also deployed for an unplanned closure of the M61 northbound carriageway near Bolton for an incident which happened overnight and had extended through the morning peak.
By 09:37 our colleagues at the North West Motorway Police Group confirmed a car had gone through the central reservation into oncoming traffic and it was clear this was going to be a significant and protracted incident. The North West Regional Control Centre immediately called Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue and located the incident scene on CCTV to monitor events. Simulatiously, our National Incident Liaison Officers based at the National Traffic Operations Centre at Birmingham were also made aware and started to report and brief internal teams and stakeholders. For our customers Breaking News was updated on our website and tweets immediately issued on our regional twitter feeds. Real time traffic monitoring data was already starting to measure delays of 20mins above profile this was starting to sharply rise.
At the incident scene Fire and North West Ambulance Service began to assist casualties and Our North West Regional Control Centre began liaising with our Traffic Officer units to head to junctions to initiate closures and also determine what resources were to be provided from our contractors. Amongst a number of measures was the provision of incident screens and how best to manage the release of traffic caught in the closure.
By 10:30 that morning with the road formally closed the diversion was published and disseminated to media. The diversions from the J20 and J21 were eastbound traffic to leave at J20 and follow the ‘Hollow Black Circle’ via the A627M, A664, A6193 and westbound traffic to follow the ‘Solid Black Square’ from J21 via the A6193, A664 and A627M roads. In addition to this local tactical diversion, to support the flow of traffic in and around Greater Manchester, staff at our National Traffic Operations Centre set strategic signage to encourage traffic travelling from farther afield intending to use the M62 to consider alternative routes also signs were set to warn customers of delays which were also present on the A628 crossing the Pennines as this is often used when traffic self-divert due an M62 closure.
By the mid-morning further details were emerging and a teleconference was held to co-ordinate Highways England’s response with its contractors. One particular issue was the barrier damage and potential for removing barriers to allow release ahead of westbound trapped traffic. Early in the incident contractor barrier repair crews had been requested to scene. From 11:20 the Police and Fire Service were involved in the process of determining whether this was viable. A rearwards relief operation to turn trapped traffic on the westbound carriageway was underway but the volume of vehicles caught behind was causing concern due to the time it would take to clear the volume. The eastbound carriageway was less of an issue as trapped traffic only was passing in single file on the nearside of the carriageway to be cleared.
Other contractor resources deployed were road sweeper vehicles and crews to re-enforce closures of slip roads and main carriageways. At the incident scene the Fire Service were working to extract a casualty who was seriously injured and then police could start the collision investigation work.
By the early afternoon delays were severe with delays nearly 90mins for approaching traffic and also the A628 had significant delays. At the scene the difficult task of turning trapped traffic on the westbound carriageway was finally cleared by 14:30 and central reservation repair work was drawing to a close.
Over the course of the next 2 hours the incident investigation and vehicle recovery work continued and importantly the eastbound carriageway was able to be re-opened first. With police clearance to do so, the eastbound closures were removed under hold of traffic and all lanes re-opened by our Traffic Officers at 15:26. For safety reasons traffic was brought through on a slow rolling traffic block to ensure no secondary incidents took place. Shortly afterwards our Police colleagues advised that the collision investigation work on the westbound carriageway was drawing to a close and the westbound carriageway re-opened at 16:53.
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