Warning M1 closure after explosion near Leicester Forest East could last ‘a while’

Drivers are being warned this evening’s delays on the M1 after a lorry exploded are likely to last a long time.

Highways England is reporting delays of more than 90 minutes for traffic heading north on the M1 past Leicester, with traffic approaching Junction 21 being forced off the motorway and onto the city’s outer ring road then rejoining at Junction 22 near Markfield.

The agency said the motorway closure could continue while a gantry above the scene of the explosion is inspected for safety reasons.

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They said in an update earlier this evening: “Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service are on scene and currently lead the response to this incident.

“The vehicle has now been extinguished, however the carriageway will remain closed for recovery and inspections to a damaged overhead gantry.”

Drivers within the closed section of the northbound M1 are being advised to remain in their vehicle and await instructions from a police or traffic officer. Traffic is currently being released from the front of the queue into Leicester Forest East services, which has an access road onto the A47.

The agency said the queues on the northbound carriageway stretched back six miles.

They said: “There are severe delays of at least 90 minutes above usual journey times between J20 and J21. The queue of traffic approaching the closure at J21 spans over 6 miles in total. There are also long delays of at least 30 minutes on the M69 northbound approaching the M1 and on the M1 southbound between J21a and J21 where lane 4 (of 4) has been closed.”

The diversion routes takes traffic from junction 21, along the A5460 towards Fosse Park, up the A563 Lubbersthorpe Way until the A50 junction near Glenfield Hospital. Traffic then heads towards Coalville before joining the M1 again at junction 22 near Markfield.

For all our latest updates on this incident see our live blog here.

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Leicestershire Live – Leicester News