How did a single lorry bring down a bridge that stood for 45 years since the motorway opened. Luckily, no-one was killed and the debris has now been cleared - but questions remain unanswered.
Nashreen Issa reports:
The M20 in Kent has reopened to traffic after a crash in Kent where a lorry struck a footbridge crossing the motorway.
Two lanes on the coastbound M20 were reopened at around 4.25pm this afternoon. All lanes on the Londonbound carriageway reopened just after 5.20pm.
A precautionary 50mph limit is in place in both directions past the bridge.
A digger being transported by a lorry hit the pedestrian footbridge, resulting in the structure collapsing and the motorway being closed in both directions between junctions 1 and 4.
“Safety is our top priority. While we concentrated on reopening the road as soon as possible to help drivers, it was imperative this was done safely. We are now making the final preparations to be able lift the remaining closures safely. “The 50mph speed limit is being introduced while until work to remove the rest of the footbridge is complete. We urge drivers to respect the limit for their safety and that of other road users, and thank them for their patience as we carried out this essential work.”
Highways England has reassured the public that the remaining half of a footbridge which partially collapsed onto the M20 beneath is safe.
A lorry carrying a digger had struck the footbridge at 12.05pm on Saturday 27 August.
The organisation said that over Saturday night and on Sunday 'robust inspections' were made of the remaining elevated section of the footbridge, and that the inspections showed the structure to be safe. The operation to remove it will be done in the coming weeks.
“Safety is our top priority. While we concentrated on reopening the road as soon as possible to help drivers, it was imperative this was done safely. We are now making the final preparations to be able lift the remaining closures safely.
“The 50mph speed limit is being introduced while until work to remove the rest of the footbridge is complete. We urge drivers to respect the limit for their safety and that of other road users, and thank them for their patience as we carried out this essential work.”
The M20 in Kent has re-opened this evening - more than 24 hours after a lorry hit and demolished a footbridge over the motorway between junctions three and four near Maidstone.
The coast-bound carriageway was the first to be brought into use, although one lane is still coned off underneath the remains of the bridge.
An hour later traffic was escorted along the opposite carriageway past the crash scene. Highways England had worked throughout the night to clear tons of debris from the carriageway. The collision meant lengthy delays for thousands of motorists over the bank holiday weekend.
The M20 has been reopened eastbound towards the coast. Although, one lane remains closed. That's after the collapse of a footbridge yesterday on the M20 westbound between M25 J3 / A20 (Swanley Interchange) and J4 A228 (Leybourne / Snodland).
The westbound carriageway, towards London, remains fully closed.
Crews have spent Sunday removing the debris from a bridge over the M20 which collapsed after a lorry carrying a digger collided with it on Saturday. Tests have been carried out on the structural integrity of the other side of the bridge left standing.
Highways England have said that the M20 will remain shut until - at the very earliest - tonight while work continues to repair a bridge which collapsed after a lorry incident on Saturday.
(1). Jct 4 M20. Tactical options taken after Vehicle failed to stop for police and tried to run an officer over. https://t.co/SGvT0vcomv
(2) 2 in custody on suspicion of burglary, dangerous driving,fail to stop and attempt GBH cad 28-368 LN
Highways England have said they are hoping to re-open the M20 in Kent between junctions three and four at midday after Saturday's bridge collapse.
Dez Leach, operations manager, spoke to ITV News about the current operation to re-open the stretch of motorway.
"We've been working hard all night to sweep up all the debris, to make the bridge safe, so we can re-open the road as soon as possible."
"We're hoping to open the road from midday, obviously safety is our number one priority and we couldn't open the road until it's safe to do so."
Mr Leach added that the situation will be further assessed when the lorry that hit the footbridge is lifted this morning.
"We will be able to look at the road structure beneath and find out if there's any damage to the carriageway. Obviously that would affected the opening time."