M4 Closure Within J8 Westbound, Berkshire, Friday 16 September 2016.
The M4 was closed westbound within J8 due to extensive flooding following torrential rain.
At approximately 04:50 our East Regional Control Centre was notified of severe flooding on the westbound entry slip road at J8 of the M4 in Berkshire. CCTV showed that there was also excess flood water across lanes 1 and 2 on the main carriageway within the junction. Traffic Officers were immediately deployed to the scene and Highways England contractors were alerted. At the same time, units from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue service were mobilised. Once on scene, it was clear that it would take some time to drain the surface water, and the decision was made to close the entry slip, and both lanes 1 and 2 to allow the fire service to clear the water safely. Our national teams started to push this information out to the media and via our Twitter channels as well as setting variable message signs further afield to warn you of the incident.
The fire service arrived on scene at approx. 06.30 and began to pump the water at a rate of 3000 gallons per minute. While this was happening, several vehicles were reported to have broken down in the flooded section, and these were removed by Thames Valley Police. By this point delays were starting to build, mainly due to the fact that this incident was running into the morning peak traffic time.
At approx. 08.15, the fire service and Highways England contractors had cleared the flood water from the entry slip road, and deemed it safe to re-open. This then allowed them to concentrate on pumping the water from the main carriageway.
Our contractors on scene continued to work hard to clear the flood water and lane 3 remained open past the scene allowing traffic to pass. However, after re-assessing the situation for safety reasons, the decision was made to close the carriageway completely within the junction. Traffic was diverted up and over J8 via the exit and entry slip roads. Our teams in the National Traffic Operations Centre immediately set signs and signals across the network to advise traffic heading in this direction of the closure.
Due to the large volume of water on the carriageway and the fact that it continued to rain, the fire service sent a further 3 pumps to assist those already working on scene to help clear the flood water.
Because the carriageway was now closed and traffic was being pushed off at J8, delays continued to build and by early afternoon, congestion was back to J5. A breaking news message was set on the Highways England website to advise customers of the severe delays. Tweets were issued advising customers to allow extra time for their journeys, and where possible to consider alternative routes.
We continued to work through the afternoon and at approx. 16.15 our East Regional Control Centre confirms that all excess surface water had been cleared and the carriageway had fully re-opened.
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