Stoke & Staffordshire

M6 motorway in Staffordshire shut after lorry crash

The overturned lorry Image copyright West Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption The lorry driver was not badly hurt but taken to hospital as a precaution

The M6 motorway was closed in Staffordshire after a lorry crashed and caught fire.

The HGV struck the central reservation between junctions 12 and 13, near Cannock, just after midnight.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said the lorry driver was not badly injured.

The motorway temporarily reopened earlier, but disruption is expected for several more hours while repairs take place and long delays have been reported on surrounding roads.

West Midlands Police said diesel and radiator fluid spilled on to the carriageway.

Some drivers took to social media to call for a bypass to prevent the "gridlock" caused by problems on the motorway.

Another driver, Tiana Ashford, said she had been stuck for two-and-a-half hours with three chickens in the back of her vehicle.

She thanked a lorry driver who "gave us a big bottle of water". They have all since made it home safely.

Image copyright Tiana Ashford
Image caption Tiana Ashford was stuck on the motorway with her chickens

By mid-afternoon, traffic officers wanted to re-open lanes on the southbound side but were struggling to get through due to the queuing traffic.

Not only the motorway was affected however.

Ian Bourne, who had been travelling to Stoke-on-Trent from Cannock, emailed to say there were "big delays in Hednesford, Cannock, Stone in each direction".

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption The tailbacks affected many other roads

Some drivers complained they did not get early enough warnings about the crash.

One Twitter user, Karl Roberts, said he had driven south from Manchester but had not seen any warnings until J16 which "doesn't leave much option for alternative route".

But Highways England said it had set signs as far away as Cumbria and Blackpool and including around Manchester.

A doctor said he was unable to get to hospital because of the traffic.

Stuart Roberts wrote: "Myself like many other doctors on rotation commute from Birmingham to Stoke and will not be able to get to the hospital today. Our colleagues are holding the fort.

"I've just passed seven hours in traffic and am nearly at Junction 12."

Highways England said it had escorted seven ambulances through the traffic and had been "been working really closely with the emergency services" throughout the day.

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption The crash damaged the central reservation

Other travellers missed flights and had to rebook last minute.

Three lanes have since reopened in each direction, Highways England said, but were due to close again from 22:00 for further repairs.

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