M6 closure - this is why it took 15 hours to recover an overturned lorry from the motorway on Friday

The M6 was shut for 15 hours after a lorry crash in Preston on Friday (June 17) – but why did it take so long to recover an overturned lorry?

By Matthew Calderbank
Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 6:03 pm

Friday’s closure – from 2.30am to 5.15pm – prompted many disgruntled motorists to query why it took so long to reopen the northbound carriageway.

Traffic chaos

The closure caused traffic chaos on roads around Preston on the hottest day of the year, with delays of up to 90 minutes reported on approach to junction 32 (Preston, M55) where drivers were diverted off the M6.

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The M6 northbound was closed for 15 hours on Friday (June 17) - from 2.30am to 5.15pm - after a lorry overturned in the early hours

There was also miles of congestion along the A6 as traffic was diverted through Barton and Garstang towards Lancaster to rejoin the motorway at junction 33.

Those who planned to make the most of the warm weather and head north towards Blackpool and the Lake District found themselves stranded in miles of queuing traffic.

No-one was injured in the crash, no other vehicles were involved and – despite initial concerns about an oil and diesel spillage - the carriageway didn’t require resurfacing.

So, why did it take 15 hours to recover the lorry and reopen the M6?

The M6 closure caused traffic chaos on roads around Preston, with delays of up to 90 minutes and 8 miles of congestion as drivers waited to exit the motorway

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These are the scenes from the M6 in Lancashire after lorry crash near Preston

This is the reason given by National Highways

We asked National Highways, the Government agency responsible for operating and maintaining England’s motorways and this is what they said...

“The recovery and clean-up operation following the lorry crash on the M6 at Preston was an extremely challenging and time-consuming procedure.

“Items including foodstuffs and a refrigeration unit were left on the carriageway and multiple skips and recovery vehicles were involved.

"Due to these circumstances and the positioning of the vehicle, the majority of the cargo had to be moved by hand."

The scene of the crash was just north of junction 32 in the Barton area of Preston, about half-a-mile from Barton Lane.

Those affected by the closure were advised to plan ahead and allow additional time for their journeys during both morning and evening rush hour.

The motorway was eventually reopened at 5.15pm.