M40 Closure Southbound, Buckinghamshire. Wednesday 21 September 2016

The M40 in Buck­ing­hamshire was closed south­bound between J2 and J1A due to a 96 tonne crane fire in the car­riage­way. 2 lanes were also closed on the north­bound car­riage­way. Due to the sever­ity of the fire the south­bound car­riage­way sus­tained sub­stan­tial dam­age to lane 1 and the hard shoul­der which required resurfacing.

Dur­ing Wednes­day evening our col­leagues at the High­ways Eng­land East­ern Regional Con­trol Cen­tre made us aware of a seri­ous fire involv­ing a 96 tonne crane. Our National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cers based at our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions
Cen­tre in the West Mid­lands observed this on CCTV and imme­di­ately alerted our cus­tomers via social media on our @HighwaysEAST Twit­ter feed, High­ways Eng­land Break­ing News on our web­site and reg­u­lar reports to travel media, stake hold­ers and our Cus­tomer Con­tact Cen­tre. From obser­va­tions on CCTV and after sev­eral
explo­sions it was appar­ent the fire was extremely fero­cious.  2 lanes on the
north­bound car­riage­way also had to be closed as a wheel and tyre from the crane reached tem­per­a­tures caus­ing it to explode and land next to the cen­tral reser­va­tion bar­rier. At approx­i­mately  21:50hrs Buck­ing­hamshire Fire & Res­cue ser­vices arrived on scene and even­tu­ally man­aged to bring the blaze under control.

Once the Fire & Res­cue Ser­vices had extin­guished the blaze, all lanes were re-opened on the north­bound car­riage­way at approx­i­mately 23:00hrs. The
south­bound clo­sure remained in place and at 00:20hrs trapped traf­fic within the
inci­dent was released and was all cleared by 00:40hrs. Once all the trapped traf­fic had been released arrange­ments were made for a spe­cial­ist recov­ery team to attend and once on scene they con­firmed that this would be a pro­tracted recov­ery oper­a­tion for the crane which had been com­pletely burnt out by the fire.

Mes­sages were set on our Vari­able Mes­sage Signs on all strate­gic routes warn­ing motorists of the clo­sure on the M40 and a strate­gic diver­sion route was put in place divert­ing cus­tomers off the M40 at J2 and tak­ing the A40 to re-join the M40 at J1.  At approx­i­mately 02:30hrs the spe­cial­ist recov­ery team arrived on scene and made prepa­ra­tions to remove the crane. The spe­cial­ist recov­ery team worked hard through out the night and at 07:00hrs our teams con­firmed recov­ery was com­plete and the crane had been removed from the scene. Fol­low­ing this the south­bound
car­riage­way re-opened but 1 lane remained closed whilst High­ways Eng­land
con­trac­tors cleared a large amount of debris from the fire.

Our con­trac­tors worked hard in to the morn­ing rush hour to clear the car­riage­way and once the clear-up work had been com­pleted engi­neers dis­cov­ered the car­riage­way had suf­fered dam­age from the intense heat of the blaze. 1 lane remained closed
through­out the day and works were sched­uled to repair the car­riage­way on Thurs­day evening. 2 lanes were closed while work to re-surface the car­riage­way was car­ried out. At 04.15 all works were com­pleted and the car­riage­way was fully re-opened. Delays peaked at 20 min­utes above the nor­mal jour­ney time.

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