Seven-hour M6 hold up near Lancaster investigated

M6 crash scene Image copyright North West Motorway Police
Image caption The motorway was finally cleared at about 08:20 BST, after powdered cement and diesel mixed when two lorries collided on the M6

The Highways Agency is investigating why hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the M6 in Lancashire after two lorries and a car crashed.

Some drivers claimed they were stuck seven hours after the crash at 14:30 BST on Thursday on the southbound stretch, between junctions 34 and 33.

The carriageway needed resurfacing because powdered cement from one lorry mixed with diesel oil from another.

One lane opened overnight and the other two reopened at 08:20 BST.

Water was handed out to drivers by police officers.

A major clean-up operation was needed as one of the lorries spilled its load of 30 tonnes of cement powder on the carriageway, between the Lancaster and Galgate junctions.

A Highways Agency spokesman said: "Several hundred gallons of diesel from the other lorry got mixed in with the powder and it set, causing considerable damage to the road surface."

The Highways Agency said it had started a full investigation into why it took so long to get the traffic moving.

Nobody was seriously injured.

Drivers who contacted the BBC wanted to know why they were allowed to join the motorway once the tailback developed and complained about the lack of information.

The Highways Agency said the closure of the carriageway was publicised in broadcast traffic bulletins very shortly after the accident happened and in a news release at 17:00 telling people what to expect.

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