COMMUTERS heading home along the M56 in Cheshire this evening are being warned the westbound carriageway remains partially closed with long delays following a serious collision earlier today (Tuesday 12 August).

The westbound carriageway was fully closed between Junction 12 at Runcorn and junction 14 at Hapsford this morning after a lorry collided with the motorway safety barrier at around 10.15am.

Although lane three of the carriageway was re-opened at about 12.30pm, both lanes one and two have remained closed throughout this afternoon for a police accident investigation and recovery and repair work by the Highways Agency. Recovery of the lorry is now underway and then emergency barrier repairs will need to be effected before the two lanes can re-open. The incident has resulted in long delays for drivers using the westbound carriageway.

Drivers heading towards Chester and North Wales this evening are being advised that the carriageway is unlikely to be fully re-opened before 6pm and should avoid this section of the M56 if possible – seeking alternative routes or delaying their journeys. People used to joining the westbound carriageway at junction 12 should also be aware that this will remain closed too for safety reasons until the repairs are completed and the whole carriageway is re-opened.

Drivers are urged to check traffic conditions before setting out on journeys. The Highways Agency provides live traffic information via its website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms, such as the iPhone. Local Twitter services are also available at @HAtraffic_nwest and @HAtraffic_pen9 for transpennine routes.

Providing they can do so safely, road users can also call the Highways Agency Information Line (0300 123 5000) to keep up to date with road conditions.