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Gridlocked: Preston’s day of motorway misery

Posted on - 1st November, 2011 - 7:23pm | Author - | Posted in - News, Roads, Transport
m6 junction 29 closure

View up the M6 where it has been closed at Junction 29 and traffic building on the slip road. Photo taken by Kevin Miller.

Preston’s motorways the M6 and M65 ground to a halt with three serious incidents and one death causing miles of tailbacks.

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Two lanes of the M6 northbound between junction 29 and 31 still remain closed after a tanker carrying waste crashed and tipped its load across the carriageway. They are expected to reopen around 10pm this evening.

The morning began with the death of a 41-year-old Burnley man on the M65 near Preston.

A collision between a motorcycle and a white Vauxhall Insignia between junctions 2 and 1 of the westbound section of the motorway resulted in the man receiving multiple injuries.

He was taken to Royal Preston Hospital but died shortly after arriving. The driver of the vehicle was uninjured.

Police closed the M65 westbound until 11.30am to investigate.

Sgt Lee Campbell from the Road Policing Unit said: “At this stage it is not entirely clear what has happened and so I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time of collision to come forward if they have any information that could help with our investigation.”

The number to call is 08451 25 35 45.

Before the police could finish their investigations, at around 10.15am a tanker carrying waste solvent spilt its loads across the northbound carriageway of the M6 just before Junction 31.

The motorway was closed from Junction 29 and traffic diverted off and up the A6 through the centre of Preston.

Motorists reported delays of three to four hours at the tailbacks brought the centre of Preston and surrounding areas to a halt. The M61 was also badly affected with one Blog Preston reader tweeting that a 40 minute journey from Heywood had taken 5 hours.

Around 4pm two of the northbound lanes on the M6 were reopened and traffic congestion began to ease.

The southbound section of the M6 had escaped problems for most of the day, but at 5.10pm a motorcylist from Leyland collided with at least two other vehicles and all four lanes of the southbound stretch from Junction 30 were blocked.

The motorway was closed for an hour adding to the congestion in the area and drivers were advised to steer clear, but with all surrounding roads already jammed then gridlock returned.

The man was taken to Royal Preston Hospital and his injuries are described as “not serious”. The southbound stretch of the M6 reopened at 6.10pm. Delays of 30 minutes or more are expected throughout the evening.

It was an extraordinary day for the Highways Agency and emergency services, and for those caught up in the jams it led to hours of lateness to work, missed lectures or appointments.

Here’s some of the tweets we saw about being stuck in the jams:

Did you get stuck? How long for? Let us know what you think of the disruption and if you think there’s any solutions for when a major incident happens on the motorways around Preston in the comments below.

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