Huge three-hour M6 queues through Cheshire as repairs start after lorry pile-up

Highways officials have confirmed emergency repairs will need to be carried out on the M6 after a five-lorry smash resulted in a shed load along with diesel and oil spilling out over the carriageway. And motorists are being urged to stay away from the northbound stretch with drivers caught up in three-hour delays.

It comes as three lanes had to be closed off following the pile-up which has left one trucker in the Royal Stoke University Hospital with 'serious injuries'. Emergency services were scrambled to the stretch between Junction 18 and 19 at around 4am this morning with the closures subsequently put in place.

Now National Highways says those closures will be staying in place as a clean-up operation continues while three lanes all need to be resurfaced. All trucks involved in the crash have been hauled away from the scene - but machinery must now be brought in to fix up the damaged road surface.

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In addition the slip-road at Junction 18 will stay shut for the time being. National Highways has this afternoon set out just how the repairs will be carried out - which will see one lane staying open while the others are fixed.

A spokesman said: "National Highways is carrying out emergency resurfacing following a collision involving five lorries. The collision resulted in a shed load and oil and diesel fuel damage across three lanes – leaving only lane four open to drivers past the scene.

"While the lorries have now been removed from the area there is damage of some kind – caused by gouging, hydraulic oil or diesel fuel – in lanes one, two and three of the northbound carriageway and it’s not possible to safely run any traffic over these lanes without repairs and resurfacing.

"Lanes one and two will be resurfaced this afternoon and lane four will remain open to traffic. Once this has been completed, lane one will re-open and lane three will be resurfaced with the adjoining lanes closed for safety reasons due to the size of the heavy plant required for the work."

Cheshire Police has urged drivers to avoid the area. A spokesman said: "Following an assessment it has been found that three lanes of the carriageway will need to be resurfaced, therefore only one lane is open at the current time

"Highways are working to complete the work as quickly as possible, however the lane closures are expected to remain in place throughout rush hour and into the evening. Therefore, police are continuing to urge motorists to avoid the area if possible."

The force had earlier confirmed how the smash involved four trucks and a tanker. Photographs released by the constabulary have also revealed the scene of devastation greeting cops, highways officials and firefighters earlier this morning.

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