M11 Closure J8 – J9 Northbound, Essex. Wednesday 11th May 2016

The M11 in Essex was closed north­bound between J8 – J9 on Wednes­day 11th May due to a heavy goods vehi­cle fire and diesel spillage. As a result of the large amount of diesel which was spilt across all lanes of the car­riage­way, full road re-surfacing was required.

 The M11 in Essex was closed on the 11th May for exten­sive road sur­face repairs and vehi­cle recov­ery work fol­low­ing a heavy goods vehi­cle fire and diesel spillage. The fire occurred shortly before 11:19 am when High­ways Eng­land were made aware and imme­di­ately deployed our High­ways Eng­land (HE) Traf­fic Offi­cers to the scene.

Upon arrival HE Traf­fic Offi­cers stopped traf­fic to allow Essex County Fire Res­cue and Essex Police to tackle and man­age the vehi­cle fire which was on the hard shoul­der. It was iden­ti­fied that there was a diesel leak from the fuel tank of the HGV’s trac­tor unit onto the car­riage­way, at which point our con­trac­tors were requested to attend for spillage clear­ance work. Whilst wait­ing for our con­trac­tors HE Traf­fic Offi­cers treated the spillage with absorbent mate­r­ial to try and absorb the diesel. Our con­trac­tors arrived on scene with addi­tional absorbent mate­ri­als and equip­ment at 11:58 am.

M11 NB J8 - J9 FireAt 12:18 pm Essex Police and High­ways Eng­land agreed a full clo­sure of the M11 north­bound was required due to prob­lems in stop­ping the flow of diesel from the HGV onto the car­riage­way. It is thought that at least 300 litres of diesel had spilt across the hard shoul­der and lanes 1 and 2. Our con­trac­tors arranged for addi­tional equip­ment and absorbent mate­ri­als to be deliv­ered to scene in light of the sever­ity of this spillage. Damp­en­ing down work was on-going by the Fire Ser­vice as one of the wheels on the vehi­cles trailer kept re-igniting.

M11 NB J8 - J9 Spillage

Work­ing with our Police col­leagues, HE Traf­fic Offi­cers fully closed the main car­riage­way and slip roads. They then began work in releas­ing trapped traf­fic through rear­ward relief. This process involves turn­ing all of the trapped traf­fic back on itself to exit the motor­way at the junc­tion behind them (J8a). This can be a lengthy process which is depen­dent on the num­ber of vehi­cles within the trapped traf­fic and the avail­able turn­ing cir­cle for HGV’s. In this instance there were dif­fi­cul­ties in turn­ing some of the HGV’s and within the trapped traf­fic some of the vehi­cles had bro­ken down and had to be man­u­ally moved. A diver­sion route was also imple­mented for north­bound traf­fic leav­ing the M11 at J8 which was signed for with signs depict­ing a cir­cle sym­bol.  Essex Police sourced extra Police motor­cy­cles to assist with traf­fic management.

Through­out this inci­dent oper­a­tors at our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre were set­ting vari­able mes­sage signs on road that the M11 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 and our East Regional Con­trol Cen­tre pro­vided Stansted Air­port with reg­u­lar updates.

Despite on-going efforts to re-open a lane past the scene, it was iden­ti­fied after ini­tial skid tests, that the effects of the spillage were worse than ini­tially thought and full car­riage­way re-surfacing would be required. Addi­tional absorbent mate­ri­als and a road sweeper were requested and with help from the Police were escorted to scene by 14:00 pm. With these addi­tional resources and skid tests our con­trac­tors were able to re-open lane 2 at 14:39 pm. This enabled the process of remov­ing trapped traf­fic via rear­ward relief to cease and trapped traf­fic was able to pass the scene using lane 2. All trapped traf­fic left the motor­way by 14:42 pm. Once trapped traf­fic and the HGV had been removed resur­fac­ing work could commence.

M11 NB J8 and J9 Resurfacing WorksVehi­cle recov­ery work was com­pleted at 16:20 and when the HGV left scene our con­trac­tors were able to put a full clo­sure in place to close the hard shoul­der and lane 1 in prepa­ra­tion for resur­fac­ing work and the re-opening of lane 2 to all traf­fic. Addi­tional road sur­face treat­ment was also car­ried out in lane 2 prior the lane re-opening to all traf­fic at 17:19 pm. Full car­riage­way resur­fac­ing was still required but to assist road users we estab­lished that we were able to resur­face the hard shoul­der and lane 1 with traf­fic pass­ing in lane 2. Once this work was com­plete we could switch the clo­sure and traf­fic could use lane 1 whilst we resur­faced lane 2. These works were fully com­pleted and all lanes re-opened at 02:12 hours.

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