Severe delays still remain on the M4 following a lorry fire that closed both sides of the carriageway for several hours.
The fire near Swindon, between junctions 14 and 15 on the eastbound carriageway, was first reported just after 2.30pm.
Both carriageways were closed shortly afterwards, with all traffic held and severe queues developing between junctions 13 and 16 on both sides.
READ THE LATEST IN OUR LIVE BLOG: Massive delays and queues as lanes re-open after lorry fire near Swindon
Highways England and fire services confirmed the closure on both sides was in place for “safety reasons” and people were advised not to leave their vehicles during the chaos.
The log from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue confirmed the lorry had been filled with gas canisters, which had caused “several explosions” as the fire had gutted the vehicle.
The full log said: “We were called to the M4 eastbound between J15 Swindon and J14 Hungerford this afternoon for a lorry fire. Four fire engines were sent to the scene, together with a water carrier.
“The lorry was fully involved in fire and there were several explosions from gas cylinders on board. There were no injuries.
“Both carriageways of the motorway were closed for several hours, although there was a partial reopening westbound by 4.30pm.”
Pictures of the lorry during and after the fire have been shared by emergency services throughout the day, including vision of the lorry issuing a heavy cloud of smoke as the fire raged.
The lorry was also shown in the aftermath of the blaze to have been gutted by it, with barely anything remaining of the lorry’s cargo once it had been extinguished.
Fire crews remained on scene through the late afternoon dampening down the vehicle.
While both sides of the carriageway are now re-open, only two lanes are running on the eastbound side as “extensive surface damage” in the aftermath of the fire is dealt with.
The latest INRIX update has confirmed that there are still heavy delays in the area, with diversion routes through surrounding areas including Marlborough and Hungerford also very busy with diverting traffic.
The latest update says: “Severe delays and queueing traffic due to earlier lorry fire on M4 Eastbound between J14 A338 (Hungerford) and J15 A346 Marlborough Road (Swindon East). Congestion to J13 (Chieveley / Newbury) Westbound and J16 (Swindon West) Eastbound, local areas including Marlborough and Hungerford are extremely busy as traffic is trying to re-route to avoid the motorway.
“All lanes have been re-opened.
“The road has now been fully re-opened, but heavy delays remain as trapped traffic is slowly leaving the scene.”
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