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.
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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