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M-ways blocked ... by salmon, beans and cans of lager; Just some of the weird spillages hitting highways.

Byline: Neil Atkinson Head of News

IT sounds like a recipe for a huge banquet.

Some 6,000 chickens. Hundreds of tins of baked beans. 10 tonnes of fresh salmon. Oh, and thousands of cans of lager.

They may sound appetising but these are just some of the bizarre spillages on our busy motorways that have meant frustration for drivers and a massive clean-up headache for roadworkers.

Two spillages on Yorkshire's motorways have been featured on a list of the top ten strangest spillages in England.

Highways England teams have faced many mammoth challenges to clear up after motorway incidents including 20 tonnes of yeast extract on the M1 in South Yorkshire and 10 tonnes of salmon on the M62.

In every case, Highways England teams have worked quickly, and under pressure, to remove debris, clean the road, and fix damage before safely reopening the carriageway to drivers.

In some cases, thousands of items had to be picked up by hand after spreading across several lanes of the motorway.

Melanie Clarke, director of customer operations at Highways England, said: "Our roads are among the safest in the world, and safety is our number one priority.

"Our role is to ensure we clear incidents quickly, and keep traffic moving to minimise delays.

"We work closely with the emergency services, in challenging circumstances, to try to keep drivers moving after an incident.

"We know drivers get frustrated when their journeys are disrupted but we do all we can to clean the road quickly after an incident - and it's often much more complicated than simply moving the vehicles off the road to reopen it.

"That's why it can often take longer for us to safely reopen roads when a potentially dangerous substance is spilled in an incident.

"Our teams expect the unexpected, but of course, when you're dealing with ten tonnes of salmon, dangerous toxic chemicals, or emulsion paint, the clean-up operation is somewhat complicated."

Diesel, which is often spilled after an HGV incident, creates a chemical reaction with asphalt, which causes the road surface to rot. Teams have to use highly-specialised hydro-blasters to completely clean the road. If any diesel is left over, it could create potholes: so it's important that any cleaning is very thorough. If the road is so badly damaged it may have to be totally relaid so the surface maintains its integrity.

Milk poses similar problem: it rots the road, can stick to the surface and becomes very slippery in wet weather.

All traces have to be cleaned off the road before it is safe to reopen.

The salmon spilled on the M62 had to be picked up by hand, while thousands of pieces of loose gravel which spilled on the motorway had to be brushed off by workers.

THE TOP 10 STRANGE SPILLAGES 1. Raw human sewage 2. 6,000 chickens 3. Hundreds of tins of baked beans 4. 20 tonnes of Marmite (left) 5. Thousands of lager cans 6. 10 tonnes of salmon 7. Melamine formaldehyde resin and phosphoric acid 8. Animal blood 9. Refrigerated liquid oxygen 10. Powdered cement


Highways England workers clear yeast |extract off the M1 while left, loose gravel and escaped salmon hit the M62

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 19, 2015
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