M1 Back Open!
19 April 2011, 10:45
Almost a week after part of the M1 had to close following a fire at a scrapyard - all lanes are now completely reopened - just in time for the Easter getaway.
The motorway had to be completely closed on the morning of Friday 15 April 2011 after a fire broke out at 4am at a scrapyard under the M1 at Mill Hill in north London. Traffic was unable to use the motorway between junction 4 Elstree and junction 1 Staples Corner (the end of the M1).
London Fire Brigade have been telling Heart they now think the fire was started on purpose.
All three lanes are now open, but there are speed restrictions to 50 miles per hour over the area which was affected by the fire.
The Highways Agency has been telling Heart that the road may have to close in the future to allow for more permanent work:
A spokesperson for the agency says:
"It should be noted that it is likely there will be a need for closures in the future to enable permanent repair work to be undertaken. These will, of course, be planned to minimise disruption as far as possible.''
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has been telling Heart:
"I am pleased that work on the M1 has progressed faster than anticipated to allow the safe opening of three normal lanes in each direction by tomorrow. This means there will now be no need for a contraflow system.
"The Highways Agency has been working around the clock to do everything it can to reopen the M1 and this news will be welcomed by motorists planning to get away for the Easter weekend."
Forty firefighters helped tackle the flames at a scrapyard site close to Scratchwood Services and Ellesmere Avenue. A number of gas cylinders were involved in the blaze and a temporary hazard zone was set up in case they explode in the heat.
The fire also led to disruption to First Capital Connect and East Midlands Trains from places like Bedford and Kettering on Friday morning.