[D]rivers are being urged to avoid the M6 in Lancashire as Highways England works with the emergency services to reopen the motorway after a bridge was damaged by a vehicle earlier today (Thursday 26 July 2018).
The M6 is currently closed in both directions between junction 32 at Broughton and junction 33 at Galgate after a lorry travelling southbound shortly before 7am struck and then got stuck under the Turner’s Farm accommodation bridge over the motorway between the 2 junctions
The bridge has been damaged and is currently being inspected to see what needs to be done to make it safe before reopening the motorway.
Drivers are being diverted between the 2 junctions via the M55 and A6 – by following the ‘Hollow Circle’ symbol northbound and ‘Hollow Diamond’ southbound. However, the diversion route is already very busy and drivers are being urged to find alternative routes or delay their journeys.
Festival goers heading north to Cumbria’s Kendal Calling at Lowther Deer Park, just south of junction 40 of the M6 at Penrith, are being advised to consider using the M1 and A1 instead – joining the M6 at Penrith via the A66.
Phil Stockford, emergency planning manager for Highways England in the North West, said:
“The safety of road users is our priority and we cannot reopen the motorway until we are happy it is safe to do so. We already know the bridge has been damaged but we currently have specialists on scene inspecting the bridge who will advise on what needs to be done to make the bridge and motorway safe.
“In the meantime, we would like to thank drivers for their patience and advise them to seek alternative routes or delay their journeys until the motorway has reopened.”
Highways England traffic officers from the outstations at Millness in Cumbria and Samlesbury in Lancashire have been on the scene all morning helping to manage traffic. Colleagues at the regional control centre at Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside and at the National Traffic Operations Centre in Birmingham have set electronic signs across the North West and other parts of the country to advise drivers of the closure and alternative routes.
The traffic officers and officers from Lancashire Police are also carrying out welfare checks among drivers queuing to leave the motorway and on the diversion route.
Drivers are being urged to plan their journeys before setting out and – particularly in the hot weather – ensure they and their vehicles are prepared in the event of being caught up in an incident or congestion.