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M11 drivers face 40-mile diversion as lorry turns into a fireball




A lorry on the M11 became a fireball this evening (Wednesday, July 14) sending plumes of thick black smoke into the air visible from Cambridge.

Witnesses reported hearing an explosion as the incident unfolded on the southbound carriageway close to Quendon just before 5pm.

Essex Police has closed the motorway in both directions between Junction 10 at Duxford and Junction 8 at Stansted Airport “due to the contents of the trailer” and there was speculation that the lorry was carrying aerosol cans.

Rob Green captures the fire at its height before emergency services brought it under control (49225278)
Rob Green captures the fire at its height before emergency services brought it under control (49225278)

Motorists are now caught in at least three miles of congestion on the approach to Junction 8 northbound and there is a growing two-mile jam to Junction 10 southbound. The Junction 9 entry slip from the A11 is also affected.

Highways England said “please avoid the area at all costs” and was sending drivers on diversions of up to 40 miles to avoid the scene.

Crews from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service have been tackling the blaze as emergency helicopters circled overhead.

Emergency choppers at the scene
Emergency choppers at the scene

It is believed the driver escaped from the inferno and Essex Police expected the road to be closed for some time.

The 40-mile diversion for southbound drivers is to exit the M11 at Junction 10 onto the A505 and continue to the A505/A10 roundabout at Royston. Then take the first exit onto the A10 south and continue through Reed, Buckland, Chipping, Buntingford, Colliers End, High Cross, Thundridge and Ware to the A10/A414 West Roundabout. From there they can take the first exit onto the A414 to Harlow and rejoin the M11 southbound at Junction 7.

Northbound traffic is being told to exit at Junction 8 and take the second exit from the roundabout A120 to Little Hadham before continuing on the A120 through Little Hadham and Standon to A120/A10 roundabout. From there, drivers must take the third exit and continue on the A10 through Buntingford, Chipping, Buckland and Reed to the A10/A505 roundabout at Royston before taking the third exit and continuing on the A505 to rejoin the M11 northbound at Junction 10.

Traffic queues on the M11 in the wake of the lorry fire
Traffic queues on the M11 in the wake of the lorry fire


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