M6 closed for up to nine hours leaving eight-mile tailback after lorry fire
Motorists faced eight-mile long tailbacks and long delays lorry fire raged for four hours on the M6.
The M6 was completely shut northbound between Junction 14, near Stafford, and 16 for Stoke North at around 3.15am on Tuesday after the vehicle burst into flames.
Highways England praised the lorry driver who separated the trailer from the cab which reduced the impact of the blaze.
Around 15 firefighters from Staffordshire Fire Service attended the scene.
The lorry was carrying plastic bottles and metal.
It took until around 6am to bring the blaze under control inside the trailer.
The trailer melted into the M6 with the tyres blowing out forcing the unit to drop onto the road.
Crews remained there at day break dampening down the trailer which was burnt to a shell.
Highways England confirmed resurfacing work needs to be carried out.
The M6 reopened two lanes of the M6 northbound at late morning
But one lane remained closed.
Highways England kept three of the four slip roads at junction 15 closed with only the southbound exit slip road remaining open for motorists.
This is due to the complex layout of the junction itself, officials say.
Highways England's duty operations manager, Adam Morgan, said: "We are extremely grateful for the quick thinking actions of the driver who was able to separate the trailer and cab unit, whilst it was well ablaze – otherwise the fire might have been so much worse.
"This was an incredibly intense fire and one of the lanes on the carriageway has been badly damaged, as these pictures show.
"That means we're going to keep the affected lane closed between junctions 14 and 16 and open two lanes northbound so that traffic can travel past the scene.
"We will then fully repair it later tonight when the road will be quieter.
"We'd like to thank motorists for their patience while the emergency services and our colleagues dealt with the incident."
Highways England earlier took to Twitter to alert motorists about delays of at least an hour on the approach to J14. They said there were approximately eight miles of congestion.
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