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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