M4 hit with eight miles of queues and 90-minute delay after lorry fire shuts bridge

There were eight miles of queues and delays of 90 minutes on the M4 after a lorry caught fire this afternoon. The M4 was closed westbound at around 3pm after a lorry fire on the Prince of Wales bridge and remained fully shut for six hours until 9pm.

The lorry was carrying 24 pallets of wine, according to the fire service, and no injuries have been reported. Dramatic images from the fire showed the lorry completely burnt out and a large presence of emergency services.

The fire had been extinguished by 5.30pm, but recovery of the burnt out lorry is understood to not have taken place yet. An inspector is also on scene to assess damage to the bridge cables caused by the fire.

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There have been severe delays in the area as a result of this, with queues being exacerbated by a planned lane closure on the diversion via the M48 Severn Bridge. At 8.40pm, Avon and Somerset Police said: “Work’s ongoing to reopen the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge w-bound after the earlier fire.

“One lane will hopefully open within 30mins but traffic could take up to 2hrs to clear. If you’re especially vulnerable call 101 & we’ll try to help.”

Just after 9pm, National Highways confirmed the bridge was in the process of being reopened. it said: “The entry slip road from the #M49 is open and the closures are being removed to access the bridge from the #M4 westbound.”

(Image: Colin Dixon)

This is the latest update from National Highways: “The M4 in Gloucestershire is closed westbound between J22 and J23 (Prince of Wales Bridge) due to a lorry fire.

“The fire has been extinguished and recovery of the burnt out lorry is taking place. An inspector is also on scene to assess damage to the bridge cables caused by the fire.”

Diversion details

Road users are advised to follow the hollow triangle diversion symbol on road signs:

  • Leave the M4 at J21 and join the M48 westbound and use the M48 Severn Bridge
  • Follow the M48 back to J23 of the M4 to continue your journey

National Highways said: “Please note there is a planned lane closure on the M48 Severn Bridge so delays are to be expected on the diversion route. There is currently 8 miles of congestion on approach on the M4 westbound leading back to J19 (Bristol). This is causing delays of 90 mins above normal travel time.

“If this closure impacts on your planned route, please allow extra journey time. Plan ahead, you may wish to re-route or even delay your journey.”

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