[T]he M6 north of Preston in Lancashire has now reopened in both directions after staff from Highways England and its contractors worked through the night to prevent a bridge from collapsing.
Following yesterday morning’s emergency closure, all 3 lanes of the northbound M6 reopened at 5am today and 2 lanes of the southbound carriageway opened just after 9.30am. Lane 1 and the hard shoulder along the southbound M6 will remain closed around the temporary bridge support, with a 50mph speed limit in place, while requirements for a permanent repair are assessed.
The motorway was closed between junction 32 at Broughton and junction 33 at Galgate shortly after 7am yesterday after a lorry struck and then got stuck under the Turner’s Farm accommodation bridge.
Highways England worked throughout yesterday and overnight to assess the damage and plan and provide a temporary support column before removing the lorry and damaged bridge support.
Phil Stockford, emergency planning manager for Highways England in the North West, said:
“We’d like to thank drivers for their patience and support over the last 24 hours. The safety of road users has to be our priority and we faced quite a delicate operation to support the bridge and then remove the lorry and pier. Thankfully, we were able to complete that work overnight and the motorway has now reopened in both directions.
“We’d also like to thank our friends in the emergency services and other agencies, including Lancashire Police, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and local highways authority, for the work they put in yesterday – whether in helping publicise the closure or carrying out welfare checks and providing water to people stuck in queues along the diversion route.. It’s been a real partnership effort.”
Highways England is advising drivers heading back south from the Lake District and the Kendal Calling festival in Penrith on Sunday to be mindful of the lane closure on the southbound M6 and plan journeys accordingly – including checking for congestion or incidents before setting off.