Thousands of drivers heading to the Channel Ports on holiday - along with thousands more coming home - were all caught up in the gridlock on the M20 after the accident.

The section of the bridge that fell onto the motorway can be clearly seen Credit: Eddie Mitchell/ITV Meridian

The motorway has been closed between junctions 1 and 4, and is likely to remain closed until at least tomorrow lunchtime.

Kent Police left the around 11pm after investigating the incident which occurred on the carriageway towards London just after noon.

Highways England and the police have working to help drivers caught in tailbacks many travelling to the ports to catch ferries. All the drivers were able to clear the log jam on the motorway by 3.30pm - only to find the surrounding roads were heavily congested.

While both carriageways are closed diversions have been put in place and the Highways Agency said on Saturday evening that delays have dropped from 35 minutes at their peak to 15 minutes.

The Agency said it was difficult to give a clear indication of the exact time the motorway would be reopened, but it was likely it would take until at least 12 noon on Sunday.