A12 southbound reopens in Essex after fatal lorry crash in Witham
A major section of the A12 in north-east Essex has reopened tonight after a fatal lorry crash in Witham caused a near 36-hour closure.
The lorry, which had been carrying 26 tonnes of batteries in a 40ft container, plunged from Coleman’s Bridge near Witham on to the A12 southbound, killing its driver, at around 3.40pm on Wednesday. The vehicle caught fire after the crash.
The driver, a man in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed.
The lorry cab is thought to be from a heavy commercial recovery vehicle, but it is not known who the operator is at this stage.
The road was closed between Marks Tey and Boreham for several hours, although the northbound side was reopened on Wednesday evening. Diversions via Braintree were set up for southbound motorists.
At around 9.45pm tonight, Highways England announced the A12 southbound had reopened, with a single lane closure in the Witham area.
A spokesman said: “The A12 in Essex has re-opened southbound but lane one remains closed between junction 22 and junction 21 (B1389 junctions of Witham) for on-going investigation and collision clearance work.
“The exit and entry slip roads of junction 22 (are) also closed.
“If you’re intending on using this section of road please plan ahead and allow extra journey time.”
Both the lorry cab and the container had been recovered by firefighters by 7pm today, the fire brigade confirmed.
The owner of the batteries was also involved in the process of removing them from the scene today.
Police officers are investigating the circumstances leading up to the collision and are appealing for anyone who saw what may have happened who has not already contacted police to get in touch.
The complex recovery work meant motorists travelling during today evening’s rush hour were also affected by the continued road closure.
Congestion was also reported around Colchester during the day as drivers tried to avoid the A12.
A spokesman for the The East of England Ambulance Service said today: “We dispatched an ambulance crew which was on scene in six minutes and was very quickly followed by an ambulance officer, rapid response vehicle, air ambulance from the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT), and the hazardous area response team (HART).
“Sadly a man, believed to be in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene. Our thoughts are with the friends and family involved.”
A car also crashed and caught on fire on the A120 near Braintree at around 5am today, which is on the diversion route around the closed A12.