Eight hour snarl-up on M6 after lorry cement spill

Eight hour snarl-up on M6 after lorry cement spill

Picture from @NWMotorwayPolice

Eight hour snarl-up on M6 after lorry cement spill

Eight hour snarl-up on M6 after lorry cement spill

First published in News
Last updated
The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

MOTORISTS were stranded in their cars for eight hours last night after chaos struck on the M6 on one of the warmest days of the year.

Traffic queues stretched for 30 miles on the southbound side of the motorway after the incident between Junctions 33 and 34.

It stemmed from a collision between two heavy goods vehicles - one of which was a cement truck.

Officials said it ‘ruptured’, spilling cement powder, diesel and engine oil across three lanes and the hard shoulder between Junctions 33 and 34.

The incident happened at 2.40pm yesterday and left some people stranded in their cars for eight hours before they were diverted.

Police only declared the stretch of road safe to reopen at 8am this morning - 17 hours after the initial incident.

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A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: “Unfortunately there was a very serious collision between two HGVs.

"A cement truck ruptured which contributed to a large quantity of diesel spilling along all the lanes."

As well as being cleared of the debris, the motorway stretch had to be resurfaced because of the corrosive effects of the materials spilt.

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The Highways Agency said: "It’s not unusual in these circumstances for the diesel and oil to damage the top layer of the carriageway and that makes it unsafe for drivers to carry on driving.

"We would like to thank drivers for their patience in what was a very long and protracted incident. We worked hard to inform people from 3pm onwards.”

Motorist Matthew Jones, 21, was caught up in the tailbacks.

He said: “It was the worst traffic jam I’ve ever been involved in. I started queuing at 3.30pm just after leaving Kendal. People were getting out of their cars and sunbathing.

"I moved less than half a mile in three hours. By 10:30pm I’d just about reached Lancaster. I didn’t even have anything to drink but thankfully traffic officers were walking up and down handing out water.

"It was gone midnight by the time I got home. I can safely say that was the worst driving experience of my life.”

Due to the extremely hot weather conditions there were concerns that people would become dehydrated so officers on duty at the scene handed out water to many stranded drivers.

* Were you caught up in the tailbacks? Contact patrick.christys@nqnw.co.uk with your stories and any photographs.

 

Comments (7)

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2:58pm Fri 25 Jul 14

redhairedgranny says...

I was travelling north towards Kendal at 5.30pm on Thursday. The traffic in Lancaster was gridlocked as traffic was being diverted down the A6 from Carnforth, through Lancaster to the south. At junction 35 (Carnforth), the police were stopping vehicles attempting to get on the motorway. Neither at Crooklands nor at Brettargh Holt were there any police or signs preventing people from joining the M6. Traffic was still streaming through at a heavy pace. The M6 was blocked on all three lanes to about a mile past the Burton Services so Cumbria police should have been stopping further traffic going south which was making the situation even worse. My heart goes out to those poor people, especially children and the elderly who were stuck in that heat for all that time. This should never have happened and if the police force in Cumbria had done its job by preventing further traffic joining the M6 then in all probability it wouldn't have happened.
I was travelling north towards Kendal at 5.30pm on Thursday. The traffic in Lancaster was gridlocked as traffic was being diverted down the A6 from Carnforth, through Lancaster to the south. At junction 35 (Carnforth), the police were stopping vehicles attempting to get on the motorway. Neither at Crooklands nor at Brettargh Holt were there any police or signs preventing people from joining the M6. Traffic was still streaming through at a heavy pace. The M6 was blocked on all three lanes to about a mile past the Burton Services so Cumbria police should have been stopping further traffic going south which was making the situation even worse. My heart goes out to those poor people, especially children and the elderly who were stuck in that heat for all that time. This should never have happened and if the police force in Cumbria had done its job by preventing further traffic joining the M6 then in all probability it wouldn't have happened. redhairedgranny
  • Score: 26

4:03pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Keeping_it_real says...

Left work in Kendal at 17.30 heading toward Lancaster, as "redhairedgranny" said, there were no signs whatsoever as I approached Jct 36 and joined the M6 heading South. Only to then get caught up in the tailback. Matrix sign on the M6 had warnings but that was a little too late. Eventually at about 9pm, I was turned back to Kendal by the police. Why on earth did Cumbria Police let more drivers join the M6 at Jct 36? If the accident happend and warning were being sent out from 3pm, either Cumbia Police didn't bother to react, or they wearnt told... Heads need to roll.
Left work in Kendal at 17.30 heading toward Lancaster, as "redhairedgranny" said, there were no signs whatsoever as I approached Jct 36 and joined the M6 heading South. Only to then get caught up in the tailback. Matrix sign on the M6 had warnings but that was a little too late. Eventually at about 9pm, I was turned back to Kendal by the police. Why on earth did Cumbria Police let more drivers join the M6 at Jct 36? If the accident happend and warning were being sent out from 3pm, either Cumbia Police didn't bother to react, or they wearnt told... Heads need to roll. Keeping_it_real
  • Score: 24

4:13pm Fri 25 Jul 14

jellyhead35 says...

I was travelling back from Penrith to Wigan at approx 4:30pm with my teenage son. I was fortunate enough to see a sign saying the motorway was closed between Junctions 33 and 34 so left the Motorway at Jct 36. This made very little difference as the whole area was grid locked.
Although a sign indicated the motorway was closed there was nothing else to give an indication of the severity of the incident. It would have been far better if police had diverted traffic off the motorway much further up, it would have prevented the major congestion around Lancaster and delays may have been less.
I did not see one police officer handing out water to people in cars. Those on minor roads seemed to be left to fend for themselves, stuck in sweltering heat. Nobody was giving directions or information of any sort. I still cannot comprehend how so much chaos can be allowed to occur over a significant length of time due to a couple of vehicles crashing. More should have been done to keep traffic moving even if it meant diverting onto a lane of the north bound carrigeway.
With the traffic moving nowhere I diverted back up the motorway to a relatives caravan in Arnside overnight- a trip which took 2hrs just to go 13 miles but a minor disruption in comparison to those stuck on the motorways and surrounding roads.
Setting off at 5am I did not expect the motorway to still be closed but a diversion through Lancaster meant I eventually arrived home 26hrs later than expected with a very grumpy 13 year old! I hope never to experience anything like this again.
I was travelling back from Penrith to Wigan at approx 4:30pm with my teenage son. I was fortunate enough to see a sign saying the motorway was closed between Junctions 33 and 34 so left the Motorway at Jct 36. This made very little difference as the whole area was grid locked. Although a sign indicated the motorway was closed there was nothing else to give an indication of the severity of the incident. It would have been far better if police had diverted traffic off the motorway much further up, it would have prevented the major congestion around Lancaster and delays may have been less. I did not see one police officer handing out water to people in cars. Those on minor roads seemed to be left to fend for themselves, stuck in sweltering heat. Nobody was giving directions or information of any sort. I still cannot comprehend how so much chaos can be allowed to occur over a significant length of time due to a couple of vehicles crashing. More should have been done to keep traffic moving even if it meant diverting onto a lane of the north bound carrigeway. With the traffic moving nowhere I diverted back up the motorway to a relatives caravan in Arnside overnight- a trip which took 2hrs just to go 13 miles but a minor disruption in comparison to those stuck on the motorways and surrounding roads. Setting off at 5am I did not expect the motorway to still be closed but a diversion through Lancaster meant I eventually arrived home 26hrs later than expected with a very grumpy 13 year old! I hope never to experience anything like this again. jellyhead35
  • Score: 7

5:59am Sat 26 Jul 14

Grumpyoldbiker says...

Whist I appreciate that roads are closed following a serious collision for investigation and repair work, more needs to be done to prevent people being stranded. With a Highways Agency depot at Milness, on the doorstep of J36, there really is no excuse for not closing the junction southbound. Drivers could have diverted down the A65. Probably too many people behind computers and desks and not enough boots on the ground.
Whist I appreciate that roads are closed following a serious collision for investigation and repair work, more needs to be done to prevent people being stranded. With a Highways Agency depot at Milness, on the doorstep of J36, there really is no excuse for not closing the junction southbound. Drivers could have diverted down the A65. Probably too many people behind computers and desks and not enough boots on the ground. Grumpyoldbiker
  • Score: 7

10:19am Sun 27 Jul 14

zaney5 says...

Over Easter I was caught up in a tailback on the M6 around Stafford. Thankfully we were able to get off the motorway relatively quickly and find an alternative route. As we approached the next junction police had set up roadblocks stopping traffic from joining the M6 and getting snarled up in the chaos. So as others have said, why was this not done in this case. Leaving people stranded in that heat for so long is unacceptable.
Over Easter I was caught up in a tailback on the M6 around Stafford. Thankfully we were able to get off the motorway relatively quickly and find an alternative route. As we approached the next junction police had set up roadblocks stopping traffic from joining the M6 and getting snarled up in the chaos. So as others have said, why was this not done in this case. Leaving people stranded in that heat for so long is unacceptable. zaney5
  • Score: 1

1:53pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Sillysar4h says...

I was stuck in this with my partner and our 2 children. I don't think people were getting out there cars to 'sunbathe' as quoted, I think the fact it was 28 degrees and cars were turning into ovens was more of a factor of people leaving cars. The whole thing was a nightmare and I don't understand in this day and age how us motorists had no option but to be stranded for over eight hours. I'm so lucky I packed some food and drink to have at our apartment as it was a completely different story for others. I hope we are never in this situation again. Amazing how you cope when you have to & how your kids behave when they HAVE to.
I was stuck in this with my partner and our 2 children. I don't think people were getting out there cars to 'sunbathe' as quoted, I think the fact it was 28 degrees and cars were turning into ovens was more of a factor of people leaving cars. The whole thing was a nightmare and I don't understand in this day and age how us motorists had no option but to be stranded for over eight hours. I'm so lucky I packed some food and drink to have at our apartment as it was a completely different story for others. I hope we are never in this situation again. Amazing how you cope when you have to & how your kids behave when they HAVE to. Sillysar4h
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Thu 7 Aug 14

juliancumbria says...

stranded for eight hours - sounds like the police get some sort of thrill out of making life for motorists as unpleasant as possible.
stranded for eight hours - sounds like the police get some sort of thrill out of making life for motorists as unpleasant as possible. juliancumbria
  • Score: 0

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