M4 Closure Westbound J8/9 to J10, Berkshire. Wednesday 12th October 2016
The M4 in Berkshire was closed westbound between J8 and J10, due to an incident involving a heavy goods vehicle. The heavy goods vehicle overturned and as a result shed its load of garden waste across the carriageway.
At approximately 12:50 Thames Valley Police made our colleagues at the Highways England Eastern Regional Control Centre aware of a serious single vehicle road traffic collision involving an HGV which had overturned on the carriageway. Both West and Eastbound carriageways were blocked. Variable Message Signs (VMS) were immediately set to warn road users of the incident. Thames Valley Police, Fire & Ambulance Services were dispatched to scene along with our Highways England Traffic Officers. Our National Traffic Operations Centre (NTOC) in Birmingham were also informed and Highways England National Incident Liaison Officers (NILO) utilised social media on our @HighwaysEast and @HighwaysSEast Twitter feeds, they also issued a report to inform the travel media.
Once on scene, it became evident that the carriageway would have to be closed. The 44 tonne HGV had overturned and came to rest facing the wrong way. The HGV shed its load of garden waste across all 3 lanes westbound; it had also ruptured its fuel tank causing an extensive diesel spill which would potentially require resurfacing. Furthermore around 180m of central reservation barrier had been flattened and a lighting column had been ripped from the ground. A diversion route was implemented which took road users off the M4 at J8/9 onto the A404M to J9B, A4 towards Reading then the A3290, A329M to re-join the M4 at J10 following the hollow square diversion symbol.
Unfortunately, the driver sustained serious injuries which required urgent medical attention. Air Ambulance were requested and deployed. Traffic on the eastbound carriageway continued to be held to enable the Air Ambulance to land safely and attend to the casualty. Thames Valley Fire extracted the casualty who required immediate medical attention; they departed for hospital via the Air Ambulance. Thames Valley Police also confirmed they would be conducting full collision investigation work. During this time our contractors had arrived on scene along with an electrical engineer and assessed the severity of the damage. A gritter had already been arranged and deployed to treat the fuel spillage.
Circa 14:10 traffic was released eastbound but due to the severity of damage to the central reservation barrier lane 3 on the eastbound carriageway would remain closed. Delays in the area had started to increase significantly so operators at NTOC set VMS further afield across the motorway network to warn road users bound for the M4. Our East Regional Control Centre (E RCC) also contacted London Heathrow Airport to make them aware of the closure. One of our main concerns was for the substantial amount of trapped traffic caught up in the closure. Our National Incident Liaisons Officers (NILO) was replying to tweets from customers who were caught up in the closure on the westbound carriageway. A welfare unit had also been dispatched to provide refreshments and support to our customers caught up in the closure. At approx. 14:16 Thames Valley Police allowed traffic to run past the scene via the hard shoulder. Traffic was halted at 15:23 to enable a sweeper/gritter to clean lane 1 and the hard shoulder; this also allowed our contractors to inspect the damage to the road surface. Upon inspection it became quite evident that resurfacing works would be required, 80 metres of road across all 3 lanes would need to be resurfaced. During this time it was also confirmed that the damage to the central reservation barrier would involve replacing 51 lengths/111 upright posts which are embedded in concrete. The timescale to complete these essential repairs would involve the road to remain closed until the early hours of Thursday morning.
Traffic Officers at scene confirmed that all traffic caught up in the closure had cleared approx. 17:19. At this time Thames Valley Police were also concluding their investigation work, once completed the complex recovery of the HGV began. For the vehicle to be righted all of its contents had to emptied, a grab lorry was deployed to assist with the recovery of the load. During this complex recovery, work to repair the damaged barrier had already begun on the eastbound section of the carriageway. Approx. 23:09 the road was handed over to Highways England contractors where all resurfacing/repair works could begin throughout the night.
At 05:41 the westbound carriageway re-opened and the lane 3 closure on the eastbound was removed at 06:48.
If you were affected by this closure Highways England would like to thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this event.
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