A12 re-opens northbound at Witham after lorry 'falls from bridge'
PUBLISHED: 08:25 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:56 09 February 2017
Motorists have been warned to avoid the A12 in north and mid Essex after yesterday's serious crash.
Essex Police closed the road in both directions to deal with the incident which saw a lorry plunge off Coleman’s Bridge and burst into flames onto the southbound carriageway at Witham.
Joe McCallum, from Essex, was driving his van on the northbound carriageway immediately after the crash, which happened at around 3.45pm, and said part of the lorry container was on fire.
The 28-year-old said he believed it was a lorry carrying frozen goods but that he could not see anything more due to the vehicle’s “mangled” state.
The northbound carriageway has reopened to traffic but on Facebook, Essex Police advised motorists that the A12 will remain closed southbound between Marks Tey and Boreham overnight. Coleman’s Bridge is also closed.
The statement said last night: “It will not be open for tomorrow morning’s rush hour and potentially may be closed until lunchtime. “Please bear this in mind when starting out for your morning commute tomorrow, anyone who normally uses this route will need to make alternative plans.”
The A12 is closed from Junction 25 at Marks Tey to Junction 19 at the Boreham Interchange. Drivers are asked to use alternative routes.
Highways England’s standard diversion for an incident along this stretch of the A12 is to divert traffic along the A120 and the A130/A131, via Braintree.
Highways England has confirmed that the planned maintenance roadworks on the A120 from Marks Tey to the Earls Colne/Coggeshall turn off at the B1024 have been cancelled to help with traffic diversions.
Chloe Willis, 20, was a passenger in a car travelling to a hockey match with friends and was “about five seconds away” from the accident.
The psychology student told the Press Association “black smoke covered the sky” as the lorry caught fire.
She said: “We had to come to an emergency stop as soon as we saw this lorry turned on its side.
“A big puff of black smoke covered the sky and all the people in cars started to panic.
“You could see where the barriers on the bridge had broken when the lorry had come through.”
Ms Willis said the emergency service response was “pretty instant” with numerous fire engines and police vehicles arriving swiftly.
Fire crews from Colchester, Witham and Chelmsford were called to the incident at 3.41pm.
Paramedics were called to the scene at 3.49pm and had an ambulance crew on scene within six minutes.
The East of England Ambulance Service sent an officer, rapid response vehicle and the Essex Air Ambulance to the scene, as well as the trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team, to treat a male patient.
Emergency services have not released details of any injuries.
Essex Police has asked for any witnesses to the crash to contact the force on 101.
The A12 is currently closed overnight at weekends in Kelvedon for bridge repair works, and the diversion is using the same route.