Vehicle fire on the busy M4 causes miles of tailbacks

Vehicle fire on the busy M4 causes miles of tailbacks – as giant sinkhole opens up closing two lanes of the M5 near the Cotswolds

  • A private vehicle was completely destroyed in a fire on M4 at around 3.30pm 
  • Two fire pumps attending the scene between junctions 14 and 15 on motorway
  • Photographs showed queues of traffic at a complete standstill amid tailbacks

A vehicle fire on the busy M4 has caused miles of tailbacks as a car was completely destroyed by flames, while a giant sinkhole has closed two lanes of the M5.

A private vehicle was left completely destroyed after it caught fire on the hard shoulder of the M4 just before 3.30pm on Saturday. 

The small car was left ‘100 per cent destroyed’ by the flames but the driver remarkably managed to escape the blaze, according to Dorset and Wiltshire fire service. 

Meanwhile, a giant sinkhole around six inches deep and a foot long has opened up on the M5, shutting down two lanes, causing miles of tailbacks and damage to vehicles.

On the M4, dramatic photographs showed queues of traffic at a complete standstill for more than a mile as smoke billowed into the air further up the motorway.

A private vehicle was left completely destroyed after it caught fire on the hard shoulder of the M4 just before 3.30pm on Saturday

The small car was left ‘100 per cent destroyed’ by the flames, according to Dorset and Wiltshire fire service

Fire crews from Swindon and Newbury stations rushed to the scene at 3.30pm after reports of a small vehicle fire on the M4 westbound between junction 14 and 15

Fire crews from Swindon and Newbury stations rushed to the scene at 3.30pm after reports of a small vehicle fire on the M4 westbound between junction 14 and 15. 

The driver and passengers in the vehicle miraculously escaped the blaze, with Dorset and Wiltshire fire service confirming that all the occupants were accounted for and away from the car at the time.

National Highways South East closed two out of three lanes between junctions 14 and 15 while the fire was dealt with.

At 5pm, just one-and-a-half hours after the blaze, there were delays of around 30 minutes and 1.5miles of congestion on the approach to the blaze.

All lanes were reopened at 5.40pm while there are still delays of around 10 minutes in the area, according to Highways England. 

Two pumps, one from Swindon fire service and one from Newbury, attended the fire. They have since left the scene. 

Traffic is expected to have cleared on the motorway from around 5.30pm, Highways England travel updates said.

A Twitter statement from Newbury Fire Station said: ‘JY04P1 currently attending a car fire on the M4 westbound J14 to 15 with @SwindonFireStn. Expect delays!’

The driver and passengers in the vehicle miraculously escaped the blaze. All the occupants were accounted for and away from the car at the time, the fire service confirmed

Dramatic photographs showed queues of traffic at a complete standstill on the M4 as smoke was seen billowing into the air further up the motorway

National Highways South East closed two out of three lanes between junctions 14 and 15 while the fire was dealt with. The lanes have since been reopened

A National Highways South East spokesperson said: ‘M4 J14 Hungerford to J15 Swindon – Due to a vehicle fire we have temporarily stopped all traffic on the approach whilst DWFireRescue deal. We will update again shortly.’

The M5 was also hit by traffic chaos on Saturday as a giant sinkhole opened up on the busy motorway, leading to miles of tailbacks.

The sinkhole shut down two lanes of traffic on the M5’s northbound carriageway between junction eight for the M50 interchange and junction nine at Strensham, Worcestershire.

There are delays of more than an hour after a massive cavity around six inches deep and a foot long opened up on the motorway.

The cavity opened up in the second lane of the northbound carriageway and caused damage to several vehicles, which are now on the hard shoulder, according to Gloucestershire Police. 

National Highways contractors and specialists are on the scene and repairs are already underway, while motorists were urged to seek alternative routes.

A statement from National Highways read: ‘There are delays of over an hour on the M5 northbound in Gloucestershire due to emergency road surface repairs taking place between J9 (Tewkesbury) and J8 (for the M50), where 2 (of 3) lanes are closed.

‘National Highways contractors and specialists are in attendance, and repairs will be taking place throughout the afternoon.

‘We strongly advise you allow extra time for your journey if you’re travelling in the area this afternoon, and consider alternative routes if at all possible.

‘Further incident information is available from National Highways by visiting our www.trafficengland.com website and travel apps. Our 24/7 Customer Contact Centre is also available to provide up to the minute information on 0300 123 5000.’

A Gloucestershire Police spokesperson said: ‘Lanes 1 & 2 are closed on the M5 NB carriageway between J9 for Tewkesbury and J8 for the M50 interchange. 

‘This is due to a hole in the second lane – several cars have sustained damage. This is expected to cause delays/tailbacks – motorists are advised to seek alternative routes.’

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