Tanker fire causes M56 gridlock

Tanker fire causes M56 gridlock

Motorway drivers suffered lengthy delays stretching from Liverpool to North Wales following a gas tanker fire on Monday.

Those with their journey planners set for Chester were particularly delayed. The M56 near the city was closed, causing gridlock as firefighters took six hours to bring the blaze under control.

The propane gas-carrying lorry caught fire on the motorway's hard shoulder on junction 14, near Ellesmere Port, at around 3pm.

Firefighters had the fire controlled by 9pm. But the M56 was not re-opened until early the next morning after being shut in each direction from junction 12 to 15.

Officials have lifted several road closures and reduced a 1,600m cordon. At the time p olice enabled drivers to turn round to exit the M56 by taking away its central reservation.

One driver caught in Monday's jams, Tom Jackson said that traffic came to a total standstill. He says black smoke was followed by a couple of small explosions and then a huge blast. Mr Jackson compared the latter to a huge "bunsen burner" leaping into the air.

Twitter account holders posted pictures of drivers leaving their cars to play football and sunbathe on the other carriageway, which was free of vehicles.

Tanker firm experts, a police helicopter team and a handful of fire engines all helped at the scene.

Air traffic control personnel were told of the fire to make sure that planes flying to and from Manchester and Liverpool airports were not hit by the smoke.

The train line linking Manchester with Chester is now re-open. The line linking Helsby with Hooton remains shut.

Copyright Press Association 2015