Big spill causes chaos on the M5

Rush-hour motorists were forced off the M5 in the West Midlands today after 200 litres of glue and industrial paint thinner spilled over the carriageway.

MOTORWAY 12 DG

Rush-hour motorists were forced off the M5 in the West Midlands today after 200 litres of glue and industrial paint thinner spilled over the carriageway.

A three mile stretch of the northbound carriageway from Junction 2 for Oldbury to Junction 1 for West  Bromwich was closed for more than 12 hours, after a lorry spilled its load across 1,615 sq ft of the road last night. It eventually reopened at 9am today.

Roads around both towns were jammed as commuters struggled to find alternative routes to work during rush hour. Queues on the motorway were stretching back three miles from Junction 2 to Junction 3 at Halesowen.

Drivers using the M5 were facing delays of around 40 minutes today before they were diverted off the M5 at Oldbury, with traffic building up on roads around Birchley Island at Junction 2.

The motorway was closed at 8.30pm last night after the spill. It had to be cleared and a 656ft length of the road resurfaced before it could reopen.

Crew Commander Dominic Rose of Oldbury Fire Station, who was one of 10 firefighters called to the scene last night, said: "A curtain sided lorry caught the side of a car transporter that had broken down on the hard shoulder.

"This ripped the curtain and the barrels fell out onto the road spilling 200 litres of chemicals."

A crew from Oldbury and another from Cradley Heath were sent to the scene and were there until 2am.

As the liquids were highly flammable, work to clear the motorway was unable to start until they had set.

Mr Rose said: "There was a very real chance the liquid could have caught fire if there was an attempt to clear it.

"We covered the spill in sand to trap the flammable vapours and the police and Highways Agency had to close the road until the liquids went hard."

James Wright, spokesman for the Highways Agency, said: "Up to 200 metres of the road needed resurfacing."