UPDATE: M11 in Essex re-opens following major chemical spill

Firefighters were callled to an incident involving a lorry which has overturned on the M11. The lorr

Firefighters were callled to an incident involving a lorry which has overturned on the M11. The lorry spilled a large quantity of chemicals. Photos: ECFRS - Credit: Archant

The M11 is now open in both directions between junctions 7 and 8 following a major chemical spill yesterday evening.

Highways Agency Traffic officers and contractors, working in partnership with Essex Police, Essex Fire Service and the Environment Agency, worked throughout the night and into this morning and the southbound carriageway re-opened at 10am. The northbound carriageway opened at 5.50am.

Highways Agency operations manager, Caner Okanay said: “We would like to thank drivers for their patience last night and this morning while we cleared the carriageway of a significant chemical spill on the M11.

“The nature of the chemical involved meant that we had to ensure none of it reached the water course. This meant we had to jet wash the carriageway surface and then use gulley suckers to ensure all of the liquid was removed and safely disposed of away from the scene.”

A 25 metre section of the southbound carriageway and the gulleys of the northbound carriageway were covered with a chemical foam after a lorry overturned at around 5pm on Thursday evening. The foam started to solidify on contact with the carriageway and also penetrated the surface.


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At the request of firefighters, a 150 metre exclusion zone was put in place until it could be established that the foam was not releasing toxic fumes.

The Environment Agency was also at the scene until 1am this morning carrying out assessments on environmental impact and drains alongside the carriageway were covered to ensure the chemical did not reach the water courses.

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