Drivers are being advised the M6 north of Preston in Lancashire will remain closed for the rest of today and overnight – and probably beyond the morning’s rush hour – following this morning’s bridge strike.
The motorway 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 support pillar, or pier, helping to hold up the bridge in the southbound hard shoulder has been so badly damaged that the bridge needs to be propped up before the lorry and the pier can be removed and the motorway safely reopened.
Phil Stockford, emergency planning manager for Highways England in the North West, said:
“The lorry is wedged under the bridge and around the pier and it’s going to be a delicate operation to support the bridge and then remove the lorry and pier. We’ll be working this evening and overnight to do this but will not open the motorway until we are satisfied that we have removed the risk of the bridge collapsing.
“We’re hoping to have this temporary arrangement in place and the motorway open by around 9am in the morning. In the meantime drivers should avoid this section of the M6 if at all possible and look for alternative routes or delay their journeys.”
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.