1. ITV Report

M11 in Essex closed for 18 hours after chemical spill from lorry

The overturned lorry on the M11 in Essex Photo: Jayden Purdue

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.

Standstill traffic on the M11 Credit: Goldie Sayers
The road had to be jet washed to clear up the chemicals Credit: ITV News Anglia

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.

– Caner Okanay, Operations Manager, The Highways Agency
A few white marks are still visible on the carriageway Credit: ITV News Anglia

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.

Queues on A120 roundabout over the M11 Credit: ITV News Anglia
M11 is up and running again Credit: ITV News Anglia

The M11 re-opened at around 11am after being closed for about 18 hours in total.

The M11 was re-opened at around 11am Credit: ITV News Anglia

More on this story