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Drivers on the M20 are facing ‘significant delays’ to traffic in both directions for two miles after a lorry burst into flames early this morning.
Four fire engines and a water carrier were sent to the incident. Kent Police have also been called to the scene along with Highways England.
A lorry caught on fire and blocked the London bound carriageway. There are no reported injuries and the cause is not yet known.
All traffic is being temporarily held in both directions between junction 9 for A20 Fougeres Way and junction 8 for the A20 Ashford Road.
Just before midday today Highways England reported that the lorry was still ‘well alight’.
Pictures show a massive tailback of traffic on both carriageways, with smoke billowing out above the road.
A lorry fire on the M20 has caused ‘significant delays’ for two miles to traffic in both directions (queues pictured above). A lorry was reported to be on fire and blocking the London bound carriageway
The lorry pictured after the fire was extinguished. Four fire engines and a water carrier were sent to the incident. Kent Police have also been called to the incident along with Highways England
Kent Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement that it ‘was called to a lorry fire on the M20 London-bound, between junction 8 for Hollingbourne and junction 9 for Ashford, resulting in both carriageways being closed’.
It added: ‘Five fire engines and a bulk water carrier attended, and crews wearing breathing apparatus put the fire out using compressed air foam and a hose reel jet.
‘There were no reported injuries and the cause is not yet known.’
Motorists stuck in the traffic jam took to social media to vent their frustrations, with some even playing rugby to keep themselves entertained.
One person wrote: ‘M20 9-8 closed. There’s no way you’re moving in the next couple of hours if you’re at the front, there’s thousands of people behind. Not even an epic fire.’
Another Twitter user said: ‘Northbound on the M20. Major blockage due to a large lorry fire.
A motorist pictured waiting outside their carsduring the long traffic delays (left) and even playing rugby to keep themselves entertained (right), in pictures posted to social media
An aerial view showing the lorry and fire crews on the carriageway after the blaze was extinguished. Highways England said: ‘Please allow extra journey time if you’re travelling M20 westbound (London bound)’
Traffic queued in three lanes following the incident, which happened early this morning and resulted in both carriageways being closed. There are no reported injuries and the cause is not yet known
Fire engines and emergency workers pictured at the scene. Kent Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement that it ‘was called to a lorry fire on the M20 London-bound, between junction 8 for Hollingbourne and junction 9 for Ashford’
An aerial view showing the traffic delays. Highways England earlier said that the fire has caused queues stretching back more than two miles, and that journey times have been increased by at least 20 minutes
‘We have been in the same position for two hours and there is no sign of anything changing in the near future. I hope all involved are safe!’
And a third person missed an appointment for their Covid vaccine in Maidstone due to the delays, tweeting to an online pharmacy: ‘Due to huge lorry fire on M20 I missed it.
‘We’re still stationery but if traffic gets moving is there any point me trying to get there? How do they deal with late arrivals?’
Highways England said: ‘Please allow extra journey time if you’re travelling M20 westbound (London bound).
‘The carriageway remains closed between J9 and J8 due to the lorry fire. Work to clear the carriageway is underway. Congestion is back to J10.’
Motorists stuck in the traffic jam took to social media to vent their frustrations, with one person tweeting: ‘Been stuck on the M20 for an hour and a half now. Any news of movement soon please anyone?’
The Government-owned company earlier said that the fire has caused queues stretching back more than two miles, and that journey times have been increased by at least 20 minutes.
It comes as two crashes have brought the A2 elsewhere in Kent to a grinding halt.
A spokesman for the agency said: ‘Kent Fire and Rescue Services are on scene along with Highways England Traffic Officers.
‘Road users wishing to continue their journey eastbound (coast bound) are advised to follow the hollow, yellow circle diversion symbol. Exit the M20 at J8 on to the A20 eastbound towards Ashford. Remain on the A20 to rejoin at J9.
‘Road users wishing to continue their westbound (London bound) are advised to exit the at J9 and follow the above diversion, in reserve and hollow, yellow square diversion symbol.
‘Please allow extra time for your journey should you be travelling in the area.’