7pm Update: Police still advising motorists to avoid the M40 southbound after fierce lorry fire (From The Oxford Times)
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5pm Update: M40 southbound to remain closed for several hours after fierce lorry fire
THE M40 southbound will remain closed for several hours following a fierce hay fire on a lorry the Highways Agency has said.
Motorists are being advised to avoid the area and Thames Valley Police are saying they working to minimise delays.
Firefighters were called to the southbound carriageway near junction 11 at about 2.50pm.
- The scene, courtesy of reader @ttid82
Police officers and Highways Agency officials are also at the scene.
A local farmer has helped police attempt to reopen the southbound carriageway.
Inspector Colin Clark, of Thames Valley Roads Policing Unit, said: “A local farmer is assisting the emergency services by using his JCB excavator grabber to transport the burning hay from the lorry onto the carriageway where it is being hosed down.
“It will then be transferred into a skip to be removed.”
Traffic is being diverted on to the sliproad but there are delays of 50 minutes, a Highway Agency spokesman said.
He added: "It is likely that the closure will remain in place for a number of hours. The vehicle will need to be recovered after the fire has been extinguished and once that has been done, any potential damage to the motorway infrastructure will need to be assessed. We will fully reopen the motorway as soon as it is safe to do so.
"The vehicle is situated on the main carriageway within the junction and traffic is being diverted using the southbound exit slip, over the roundabout and re-joining the M40 southbound via the entry slip road.
The northbound carriageway has been re-opened but police say drivers should be careful driving through the area because of the smoke.
M40 j11 Northbound to reopen soon. Southbound will be shut for some time due to fire. @OxonFireRescue working hard to resolve.C.I.Parsons— TVP Roads Policing (@tvprp) July 3, 2014
Junction 11 M40 southbound right now. pic.twitter.com/VhJAf8HAMi— TWE (@TWEHAULAGELTD) July 3, 2014
- Updates on the traffic will be posted automatically on our Live Travel Service
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