Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

M4 reopens after 10-mile queues

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Helicopter footage of the 10-mile M4 tailback in south Wales. Source: Gwent Police

All lanes on the eastbound carriageway of the M4 motorway at Newport have re-opened after a lorry crash which caused 10-mile tailbacks.

Motorists were diverted off the M4 during morning rush-hour after the lorry overturned and crashed into the central reservation near junction 25.

The driver was injured and was taken to hospital at 0550 GMT.

Traffic restrictions remain in place and one lane of the westbound carriageway remains closed.

A third lane of the eastbound carriageway will close again at 2000 GMT for repairs to continue.

The motorway was closed between junctions 24 and 28 eastbound and a diversion put in place along the southern distributor road following the crash.

The lorry driver had to be released by firefighters before being taken Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

Traffic queuing on the eastbound carriageway of the M4
This type of collision on a such a busy motorway just before rush hour obviously causes motorists a lot of disruption
Ch Insp John Pavett, Gwent Police

Around 18 firefighters from Malpas, Dyffryn and Maindy also dealt with a spillage of 40 litres of diesel.

Gwent Police said damage was caused to approximately 30-40m of the central barrier and 60-70m of the nearside barrier. The road surface also needed repair work, said officers.

Tailbacks stretched back for 10 miles, from junction 28 to 32 on the eastbound side, coming from Cardiff into Newport.

Gwent Police said they recovered the lorry at around 1030 GMT.

On the westbound carriageway, Gwent Police said lane three was closed for emergency repairs and would remain so for a number of days. Lanes one and two westbound remain open.

Ch Insp John Pavett said: "This type of collision on a such a busy motorway just before rush hour obviously causes motorists a lot of disruption.

"While the three lanes of the eastbound carriageway are going to be reopened during the busier times, because of the restrictions that are in place to ensure safety including speed limits and a police presence, obviously this will still have an impact on traffic flow."

Can you imagine the devastating consequences if such an accident were to occur on one of the mornings of the Ryder Cup in October 2010?
William Graham AM

David Russ, managing director of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said the tailbacks caused by the crash highlighted the need for the proposed M4 relief road near Newport.

"As the main transport link into south Wales this gives the wrong impression to anyone visiting the region for business or leisure," he said.

"Businesses throughout south Wales rely on the smooth-running of the M4 and more must be done to ensure that the movement of goods and services in and out of the region isn't hampered needlessly."

The crash happened close to the locations of two fatal crashes, including a head-on collision where five people died in 2007.

Conservative AM William Graham, who was among those caught in the delays on the M4, said the crash served to strengthen the case for an M4 relief road.

The planned 15 mile (24km) road south of Newport, could open between Magor to Castleton by 2013, if a business case goes forward.

"Can you imagine the devastating consequences if such an accident were to occur on one of the mornings of the Ryder Cup in October 2010?

"The true economic and social impacts of the crash are inestimable.

"The M4 is the major transport artery into south Wales we need to find an alternative to the daily congestion around the Brynglas tunnels if we are to realise the maximum economic development which is necessary to regenerate our communities and industries."



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SEE ALSO
Wildlife worries over M4 relief
15 Apr 07 |  South East Wales
Long delays after fatal M4 crash
02 Aug 07 |  South East Wales

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