The M11 in Essex was closed for 18 hours overnight and into the following morning after a lorry overturned and spilled chemicals across both carriageways.
It happened at around 5pm Thursday, during the rush hour. The road was shut between junction 7 and 8 between Harlow and Bishop's Stortford near Stansted Airport.
– Caner Okanay, Operations Manager, The Highways Agency
We would like to thank drivers for their patience last night and this morning while we cleared the carriageway of a significant chemical spill. The nature of the chemical meant we had to ensure it didn't reach the water course. This meant we had to jet wash the carriageway surface. At the request of Essex Fire Service a 150 metre exclusion Zone was put in place until it could be established that the foam wasn't releasing any toxic fumes.
Drivers were left stranded as an exclusion zone was set up by the Fire Service to protect people from possible toxic fumes.
The spilled chemicals were identified as phosphoric acid and melamine formaldehyde resin.
Phosphoric acid is commonly used in fertilisers, food additives and home cleaning products, as well as in medicine and dentistry to help whiten teeth.
The M11 re-opened at around 11am after being closed for about 18 hours in total.