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.
Did you find this bulletin useful? We really welcome your feedback. Please click here to help us. Thank you.