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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 10:53 GMT
Motorway reopens after car chaos
M11 fire
The recovery van was carrying gas cylinders. Photo Paul Wood
A stretch of the M11 has now re-opened in both directions after over 24 hours of travel chaos.

Thousands of motorists were stuck in traffic jams for hours on Saturday with tailbacks stretching for eight miles at one stage.

Up to 500 air passengers missed their flights from Stansted Airport because of the closure between junctions six and seven of the Essex motorway.

The van that caused the disruption was carrying gas when it caught alight.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: "The carriageways in both directions of the M11 between junctions six and eight are now both fully reopened and traffic is now moving along it."

The Stansted Express train from London to the airport was cancelled this weekend for track maintenance and a replacement bus service could not run because of the closure.

Missed flights

The van that caused the disruption had been sent to assist a broken-down lorry and was carrying gas cylinders when it caught fire in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said on Saturday night that up to 500 people had missed their flights, but he added that no flights had been delayed because of the problems.

A Highways Agency spokesman said there had been reports of motorists stuck in queues for up to four hours.

"When you have got the best part of eight miles of traffic in three lanes trying to get off onto the local roads, you are going to get heavy congestion," he said.


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