22:34 Cheshire Police say the M56 will open shortly following an 8 hour closure due to gas tanker fire
Thank you for your patience: “M56 should be opening very shortly – we will keep you updated”
The motorway has been shut for nearly eight hours following a gas tanker fire which has caused major disruption to the North West Motorway network.
Police started to lift some of the road restrictions at around 8pm following the propane tanker fire, firefighters were still damping down late into the evening.
The M56 was closed in both directions with queuing traffic between J14 A5117 (Hapsford) and J15 M53 and congestion on M56 to J11 A56 (Preston Brook).
Side roads quickly became congested as a 1.5km cordon was placed around the burning truck.
The lorry containing propane was on the Chester bound carriageway on the hard shoulder but the road was closed in both directions for safety around 3.15pm.
Some motorists have been stuck on the M56 for nearly seven hours,
@CH1Lizglover Tweeted: Stuck for just coming up to 5 hours between j10 and 12 westbound. I have moved about 4 miles (if that) in that time.
@myers1975 Tweeted: Been here since 3.30pm , traffics moved about 500 yards in last 30 mins or so.
@kerry_coldwell Tweeted: @cheshirepolice what is being done to get food and drink to those stuck for many hours on m56, what about those with health issues
Screen grab taken at 20:30
A police spokesman said:
“Firefighters have now brought the incident under control and the precautionary safety cordon that had been in place since the incident occurred at around 3pm has now been reduced.
“This means that many of the road closures that had been put in place will now be lifted.
“Although this means traffic will start flowing again, we would ask motorists caught in the tailbacks to remain patient as the incident prompted significant congestion throughout the north of the county and it may take some time for you to get moving again.
“Meanwhile, action has also been taken to help those motorists trapped between the incident and the road closures to leave the motorway.
The M56 in Cheshire is currently closed in both directions between J12 and J14 while we assist the police and emergency services with a serious incident. The link roads from the M53 J11 north and south to the M56 eastbound are also closed.
Traffic wishing to travel Eastbound should exit the M56 at J14 and follow the Solid Black Diamond diversion symbol, via the A5117 Southbound, the A56 Eastbound (Chester Road) and the A557 Northbound (Clifton Road) to re-join the M56 at J12.
Traffic wishing to travel Westbound should exit the M56 at J12 and follow the Hollow Black Circle diversion symbol via the A557 Southbound (Clifton Road), the A56 Westbound (Chester Road) and the A5117 Northbound, to re-join the M56 at J14.
Police had said earlier they had removed the central reservation barriers to aid the movement of traffic.
Police helicopter view of the blazing tanker:
Work is ongoing to deal with the incident on the #M56, please be patient. pic.twitter.com/5XF6YaBh0W
— Cheshire Police (@cheshirepolice) August 10, 2015
Video of the tanker fire:
Firefighters are tackling a lorry fire on the M56 westbound at j12-14. Motorway has been closed, avoid the area. http://t.co/Q7fLVTr1dr
— Cheshire Fire (@CheshireFire) August 10, 2015