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A STRETCH of motorway was closed today after cows wandered on to the carriageway.

The northbound lanes of the M53 were closed between junctions 2 and 3 between Moreton Spur and Hoylake just before 7am after about 28 calves had escaped from a field.

The closure caused long traffic delays on roads around the motorway junctions as traffic was diverted.

Police and the Highways Agency crews were sent to try to round up the animals.

Officers located a local farmer, who was the owner of the calves, and they were removed about an hour later.

A spokeswoman for Merseyside police said: "We got a call at just before 7am today to say that there were between 15-20 calves on the M53. In fact it turned out to be 28.

"We closed the motorway at junctions 2 and 3 and officers and the Highways Agency removed the calves.

"We managed to locate a local farmer and they were moved to safety. At 8am the road was reopened."

One motorist who was travelling to Liverpool from Heswall this morning, said: "I tried to get on the M53 at junction 3 but the slip road was closed.

"There were a couple of police officers waving people off the roundabout.

"I have had to drive in along Borough Road in Birkenhead where there were huge queues of slow moving traffic.

"I don't know what affect this may have had on the Birkenhead tunnel."

A spokesman for Mersey Tunnels Police said: "Traffic was heavy in the Birkenhead Tunnel because traffic was being diverted offtheM53.

"There has been a bit of congestion but the traffic was moving freely when it came to the end of the peak time.

"When the M53 was closed traffic in the Wallasey Tunnel was very light but we reopened the third lane at about 8.30am as traffic returned to normal."

Were you stuck in the traffic jam. Did you take a picture of the stray cows? Send them to us on 07834 446922.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 18, 2007
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