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 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 11:57 GMT
Commuters in 23-mile tailback
Traffic on the M4
Thousands of motorists were brought to a standstill
Commuters heading for London faced 23-mile tailbacks after a fatal road crash on the M4 motorway on Friday.

The huge congestion caused travel chaos in towns and cities across the Thames Valley.

A spokeswoman for the Automobile Association (AA) said the situation had left large parts of Berkshire resembling a "giant car park".

Congestion on the eastbound carriageway of the M4 near Slough, Berkshire, was expected to last until through much of the day.

Dead at scene

The crash happened just after 0500 GMT when the driver of a white Mercedes Sprinter van lost control of his vehicle.

The van overturned and crashed into the Upton Park bridge between junctions six and five.

The driver, who has not yet been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Thames Valley Police closed two lanes of the eastbound carriageway and one lane of the westbound carriageway to allow a recovery van to remove the wreckage.

'Absolute bedlam'

The lane closures were expected to remain in place until later today.

Rebecca Rees, from the AA, said the crash had caused "absolute bedlam" on roads in the Thames Valley.

She said: "At its worst the traffic was tailing back 23 miles from junction 11 at Reading to junction five where the accident happened.

"I would estimate there were about 23,000 vehicles affected. Large parts of Berkshire resembled a giant car park.

"The barrier repairs may take until 1500 GMT, which means these problems will last the best part of a day."


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