§ Mr. Richard Shepherd
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements were made to advise southbound motorists that the motorway was closed at junction 11 following the closure of the MI on Tuesday 23 October; what steps were taken to advise motorists to leave the motorway before junction 11; what measures were available to the police to locate and assist motorists during their delay; how long the motorway was closed; what guidelines his Department has issued to cover the emergency closures of motorways; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chope
[holding answer 29 October 1990]: Following the accident on the southbound carriageway of the M I near junction 9, Bedfordshire on 23 October police set up diversions using pre-determined routes along the A505 and A5 for HGVs and the A1081 for lighter vehicles. The carriageway was closed for 23 hours while the road was cleared and resurfaced. Details of the accident and the delays were broadcast on local and national radio as soon as they were notified by the police.
I am grateful to the emergency services in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for the efficient and effective way in which they responded to the incident.465W
The Department has encouraged the police, in liaison with the relevant highway authorities, to establish recognised diversion routes for large sections of the motorway network. The diversions in this case worked well considering the large volume of traffic carried by the M I in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, but it was impossible to avoid severe delays.