Drivers are being warned to expect severe delays on the M5 in Worcestershire on Thursday – even though the motorway has re-opened after the “ferocious” blaze which shut it for over four hours.
Two lanes of the northbound carriageway at Junction 4 near Bromsgrove were opened in time for the morning rush-hour – but one lane will remain closed for the rest of the day so repair work can continue.
Both north and southbound carriageways were shut at Junction 4 on Wednesday after a lorry caught fire and the driver was pulled to safety by a passing motorist.
The blaze badly damaged the road surface and repairs were carried out throughout the night.
The southbound side was reopened last night, but difficulties in clearing the scene delayed the emergency resurfacing work and Highways England had to install a temporary repair to two lanes so it could be used in Thursday’s rush-hour.
Highways England emergency planning officer, Frank Bird, described the incident as a “ferocious blaze”.
He said: “Lane three will remain closed throughout Thursday and further resurfacing will take place this evening to complete the repair work.
“A 50mph speed restriction is in place along the repaired section. We have worked hard overnight to put the repairs in place as quickly as possible and to avoid further disruption through the morning and afternoon peak times.
“The intensity of the fire caused complications in both recovery of the vehicle and clearing debris and that caused a knock-on effect in the time to carry out a full carriageway repair.
“We have worked to ensure we have two lanes open for today’s peak times and we advise drivers to allow extra time and to consider alternate journeys where possible.
“It will be necessary to carry out a more permanent repair tonight and in advance of this essential work we thank people for their patience.”
There were long traffic jams both on the M5 itself and also on surrounding routes as drivers were diverted around alternative roads.