Fire causes motorway chaos

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Major tailbacks have hit the M61 motorway after a lorry fire this morning.

Fire fighters are still tackling the remains of a lorry fire on the M61 Southbound and commuters are set for further congestion woes.

One lane is currently closed between junction six, Horwich and junction eight, Chorley on the busy stretch of motorway and the Highways Agency have warned drivers to expect 40 minute delays up until 6pm tonight.

The fire started at around 8am this morning after a lorry containing 20 tonnes of cat food became engulfed in flames near the services in-between the junctions.

The motorway was closed earlier this morning but has since reopened. Two lanes where closed on the Southbound motorway throughout the day but now only one is closed as fire fighters fight to safely clear the remains.

And a spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service - who fought the flames alongside their Greater Manchester counterparts - ruled out arson.

He said: “The continued road closures will be due to road damage. A fire that severe will have damaged and burnt the road surface.

“After putting out the fire crews have had to unload all of the cat food and they are still trying to make the area safe.

“We have ruled out arson but we do not know the cause of the fire.”

Earlier in the day the North West Motorway Police announced on Twitter that the driver had escaped the blaze.

They said: “For everyone who queried about the welfare of the driver from the lorry fire M61 we can confirm luckily they escaped unhurt.”