Traffic chaos as lorry fire closes part of M1
HUNDREDS of motorists were left stuck in miles of traffic as more than 20 fire firefighters fought to quell a blaze on the M1 last week.
A lorry, piled high with flat pack timber, went on fire around 6pm on Wednesday evening which resulted in the stretch of motorway between Junction 10 at Lurgan to Junction 9 at Moira being closed by police.
It took about 22 hours to clear the road after the 40ft articulated vehicle caught fire. The lorry ended up on the hard shoulder, approximately a mile to the east of the Lurgan roundabout.
Both the haulage vehicle and its trailer were consumed by the blaze, which was exacerbated when the fuel tank burst.
The blaze was visible to motorists during the evening rush-hour and despite a diversion in place, motorists still faced a long wait.
Assistant Group Commander of the NI Fire and Rescue Service, Andrew Black, told the Mail: “The fire had spread rapidly.”
It took seven fire appliances and a specialist unit to control the flames, and the incident was not declared over until after midnight.
The ambulance service had no reports of any crews attending the scene and it is believed no one was hurt.
The motorway reopened on Thursday afternoon. However, the motorway was shut again eastbound between Junctions 10 and nine from 9pm on Thursday night until 6am so that the road and safety fence could be repaired.
Responding to criticism as to why it took so long, the police said the vehicle recovery firm had to wait for it to cool first.
They also opted to wait for the morning rush hour to pass so they could close both lanes without disrupting traffic too much.
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Weather for Lurgan
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South east