M6 Closure J4 to J3 Southbound, Warwickshire, Thursday 29 September 2016.

The M6 south­bound in War­wick­shire was closed between J4 (M42, A446) and J3 (A444) through­out the late morn­ing and after­noon of Thurs­day 29th Sep­tem­ber 2016. This was fol­low­ing a seri­ous col­li­sion involv­ing 2 lor­ries and 2 cars that resulted in a fatal­ity. The road was closed whilst War­wick­shire Police car­ried out a full col­li­sion inves­ti­ga­tion, the vehi­cles recov­ered and infra­struc­ture repairs were completed.

At 09:23 on Thurs­day 29th Sep­tem­ber 2016 War­wick­shire Police received a 999 call from a mem­ber of the pub­lic report­ing they’d wit­nessed a seri­ous col­li­sion on the M6 south­bound near to J3a. The caller advised that one of the vehi­cles involved appeared to be a lorry and that it had shed its load. At the same time War­wick­shire Fire & Res­cue as well as West Mid­lands Ambu­lance Ser­vice also received 999 calls from road users report­ing sim­i­lar and that there were injuries. As a result units from War­wick­shire Police, War­wick­shire Fire & Res­cue and West Mid­lands Ambu­lance Ser­vice were despatched to the scene.

War­wick­shire Police noti­fied High­ways England’s West Mid­lands Regional Con­trol Cen­tre of the inci­dent at 09:25 and warn­ing signs were set on the elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sage Signs (VMS) above the motor­way on the M6 south­bound and the M42 in both direc­tions approach­ing the M6 inter­change to warn road users of the incident.

The first emer­gency respon­ders arrived on scene at approx­i­mately 09:30 and quickly estab­lished that this was a very seri­ous col­li­sion involv­ing 2 lor­ries and 2 cars. West Mid­lands Ambu­lance Ser­vice  requested addi­tional sup­port on arrival at the scene — includ­ing the atten­dance of two air ambu­lances (from War­wick­shire and Northamp­ton­shire Air Ambu­lance and from Der­byshire, Leices­ter­shire and Rut­land Air Ambu­lance ser­vices). The first air ambu­lance arrived by 09:40. Despite their best efforts, they reported the dri­ver of one of the HGVs had suf­fered extremely seri­ous injuries in the col­li­sion and sadly they were unable to save the dri­ver who was con­firmed dead at the scene. War­wick­shire Police imme­di­ately requested at 10:15 the motor­way be closed from J4 to deal with the inci­dent and High­ways Eng­land resources (who already had patrols en-route) despatched fur­ther units and con­trac­tors to the area in order to imple­ment the closure.

The clo­sures of the south­bound M6 approach­ing J4 and the roads link­ing on to the M6 from the M42 and M6 Toll started to be fully closed at 09:50 and the clo­sures were in place by 11:00. The traf­fic that was trapped within the clo­sure had to remain in place whilst screens were erected around the scene of the inci­dent. Once this was done the trapped traf­fic began to be fil­tered past the scene in a lane at 12:00 and was all clear by 13:00 after an addi­tional lane was able to be open past the scene at approx­i­mately 12:30.

With the con­fir­ma­tion of the road being totally closed, oper­a­tors located at our National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre were informed to set national strate­gic sig­nage on the wider motor­way net­work in order to inform cus­tomers and our National Inci­dent Liai­son Offi­cers were also briefed and began the process of inform­ing cus­tomers and the wider travel media. Break­ing News was imme­di­ately set on High­ways Eng­land Web­sites to inform of the clo­sure and, via High­ways Eng­land social media chan­nels [@HighwaysWMIDS], updates were tweeted on events which were unfold­ing and con­tin­ued to be done so through­out the dura­tion of the closure.

As the inci­dent was within the West Mid­lands conur­ba­tion, there is already a pre-agreed diver­sion route with our part­ners and the diver­sion uses major roads nearby. This infor­ma­tion was con­veyed to the pub­lic via social media and the High­ways Eng­land web­site as well as on inci­dent reports issued to third party travel info providers and to the local and national media.

War­wick­shire Police under­took the col­li­sion inves­ti­ga­tion through­out the late morn­ing and early after­noon. At 14:00 the scene was handed over for the recov­ery of the vehi­cles involved and the clean-up of a large spillage of vehi­cle flu­ids. High­ways Eng­land work­ers from our West Mid­lands main­te­nance con­trac­tors Kier were on scene ready to begin the process of clear­ing the road as soon as it was handed over from the police. By 15:00 it was safe to open 3 lanes (of 5) past the scene whilst they con­tin­ued to clean-up. The clo­sure of the M6 was removed by 15:30 and traf­fic was brought through under a rolling road block by High­ways Eng­land Traf­fic Offi­cers for the safety of both road work­ers remain­ing on scene and the trav­el­ling public.

The remain­ing debris and liq­uids were cleared by 16:15 and all 5 lanes were reopened by 16:35.

Through­out the inci­dent sig­nif­i­cant delays approach­ing the clo­sure on both the M6 and M42. In addi­tion delays were seen on the diver­sion route detailed above. Through­out the inci­dent High­ways Eng­land kept the pub­lic informed of the clo­sure and its impact via social media (on our @HighwaysWMids account on twit­ter) and online via our Traf­fic Eng­land web­site (mobile ver­sion here). Elec­tronic Vari­able Mes­sage Signs on the major roads across the west of Eng­land and Mid­lands were used to advise approach­ing road users already on their jour­neys. High­ways Eng­land pro­duced and dis­trib­uted reg­u­lar updates to the local and national media and to third party traf­fic infor­ma­tion providers.

If you were impacted by this clo­sure High­ways Eng­land would like to thank you for your patience and understanding.

War­wick­shire Police have advised that their offi­cers inves­ti­gat­ing the inci­dent would like to hear from any­one who wit­nessed it or saw any of the vehi­cles, and the man­ner in which they were being dri­ven, before it occurred.

Any­one with infor­ma­tion is asked to call the War­wick­shire Police Oper­a­tional Patrol Unit on 01788 541111 quot­ing inci­dent 96 of 29 September.

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