M25 Closure J25 – J24 Anti-clockwise, Hertfordshire, Thursday 6th October 2016

The M25 in Hert­ford­shire was closed anti-clockwise between J25 and J24 on the after­noon of Thurs­day 6th Octo­ber, fol­low­ing a col­li­sion between a car and a heavy goods vehi­cle (HGV). As a result of the col­li­sion the HGV’s fuel tank rup­tured and leaked a sub­stan­tial amount of diesel across the carriageway.

 At approx­i­mately 13:09 hours on the after­noon of Thurs­day 6th Octo­ber 2016 Hert­ford­shire Police reported a road traf­fic col­li­sion on the M25 Anti-clockwise between J25 and J24. High­ways Eng­land deployed our Traf­fic Offi­cers to the scene imme­di­ately and they were the first to arrive on scene. On approach to the inci­dent, our Traf­fic Offi­cers imple­mented a rolling road block to pre­vent traf­fic from pass­ing the scene so that they could assist those involved and assess the full impact of this inci­dent. Once it was estab­lished that there were no injuries our Traf­fic Offi­cers iden­ti­fied that the fuel tank of the HGV had rup­tured and a very large amount of diesel had spilt across all 4 lanes of the Anti-clockwise car­riage­way and was still leak­ing from the HGV. Our East Regional Con­trol Cen­tre quickly responded and requested the atten­dance of High­ways Eng­land Con­trac­tors to install a full road clo­sure so that they could clear the spillage.

Our East Regional Con­trol Cen­tral also briefed High­ways England’s National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cer (NILO) with details of the inci­dent so that they could issue an inci­dent report to inform the local and national travel media, as well as inform­ing our High­ways England’s Cus­tomer Con­tact Cen­tre and road users via High­ways Eng­land Twit­ter Feeds  https://twitter.com/highwaysseast https://twitter.com/HighwaysEAST. NILO also set a mes­sage on the break­ing news page of the High­ways Eng­land web­sites www.trafficengland.com and http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information which pro­vided infor­ma­tion about the inci­dent and full details of the diver­sion route.

Our col­leagues at Trans­port for Lon­don were also informed of the col­li­sion by our East Regional Con­trol Cen­tre, so that they could warn road users of the clo­sure using their vari­able mes­sage signs and to make them aware of addi­tional traf­fic poten­tially using their road network.


M25 Map PIB Photo


At 14:05 it was con­firmed that clo­sure of anti-clockwise car­riage­way between J25 – J24 was in place and Hert­ford­shire Police had arrived on scene. To assist the flow of traf­fic leav­ing the M25 at J25, our con­trol room acti­vated a traf­fic man­age­ment plan for the traf­fic lights on the round­about to ensure that traf­fic kept mov­ing. Our con­trac­tors made arrange­ments for spe­cial­ist equip­ment to be utilised which included machin­ery which dis­penses ‘fuel save’ onto the road sur­face. Fuel save breaks up the diesel and stops the spillage from soak­ing into the con­crete to pre­vent car­riage­way dam­age and poten­tial resur­fac­ing repair work.

Whilst spe­cial­ist resources were on route to scene our Traf­fic Offi­cers were con­scious that the road users who were trapped within the clo­sure could be wait­ing for some time and wanted to open a lane as soon as it was safely pos­si­ble to release them. Using an emer­gency indus­trial spillage absorbent known as Zorb, our Traf­fic Offi­cers applied the Zorb across lanes 3 and 4 in an effort to soak up the diesel safely and quickly. Due to the exten­sive size of the spillage, our Traf­fic Offi­cers applied over 40 bags of Zorb across lanes 3 and 4. At 15:16 lane 4 re-opened for trapped traf­fic to travel past the scene and lanes 3 and 4 were both open by 15:28 which enabled all trapped traf­fic to be fully released and clear of the clo­sure by 15:56.


High­ways Eng­land arranged vehi­cle recov­ery for the car and the HGV. As well as an addi­tional vehi­cle which had equip­ment on board to drain the remain­ing fuel from the HGV’s rup­tured fuel tanks. Both vehi­cles were recov­ered at 15:29 which enabled our con­trac­tors to start dis­pens­ing ‘Fuel Save’ across the car­riage­way and for our road sweep­ers to com­mence work. Due to the process of clean­ing such a large vol­ume of the diesel from the car­riage­way, the pro­ce­dure can be lengthy. Inspec­tions from our pave­ments engi­neer were on-going through­out the clean-up process and allowed us to arrange for addi­tional resources to attend scene to ensure activ­ity for this oper­a­tion did not slow down. At 17:07 hydro blasters arrived with jet wash­ers to embark on the final stages of the clean-up oper­a­tion. Fol­low­ing a final safety inspec­tion it was deemed that the car­riage­way was safe to re-open as the lanes did not require resur­fac­ing fol­low­ing the exten­sive efforts which were made in clear­ing the spillage.

At 19:00 hours High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers tem­porar­ily stopped the traf­fic to allow our con­trac­tors to start remov­ing the traf­fic man­age­ment on the main car­riage­way and slip roads. At 19:15 all traf­fic was released and the car­riage­way was fully re-opened.

If you were affected by this pro­tracted inci­dent and clo­sure High­ways Eng­land would like to thank you for your patience and understanding.

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