A noise "like an explosion" rang out around the M5 motorway as part of a tipper truck smashed into the overhead gantry. Witnesses have described the aftermath of the crash near Bristol this morning (March 2), which closed both sides of the carriageway after the vehicle became wedged vertically beneath the metal framework.
No one is believed to have been injured but the incident, which happened at about 8.20am, but it has caused major disruption that is expected to continue throughout today. National Highways' log of the incident states (as of 4.20pm): "Structural engineers are currently on scene carrying out a full inspection of the damage sustained.
"Early estimations are that the the road is likely to remain closed throughout the day." The M5 is closed northbound between J18A (M49) and J17 (Cribbs Causeway) and southbound between J17 and J18, with a diversion route in place.
Read live updates on this incident here
Brad Hardwidge heard the collision before he saw it. He said: "I heard it from the other end of our site, it sounded like a distant explosion. It's adjacent to our off-road buggy tracks at Max Events."
Another witness, who preferred not to be named, spotted the aftermath while he was out walking his dog this morning in a neighbouring field. He said he felt something had "gone drastically wrong" to allow the vehicle to end up in the position it did, but that he was glad no one was injured.
Dramatic photos were shared of the scene, including by @samgreenslade74 on Twitter. He wrote: "May want to abound M5 southbound just after Cribbs. Lorry lost its tipper and wedged under the gantry.
"Also one of the speed signs is on the road between middle and fast lanes! Will be carnage in a bit."
Ray Morwood, South West Operations Manager for National Highways, said this morning: "The M5 has been closed to protect the travelling public and we’re working as quickly as we can to assess the gantry damage and make safe the signage and fittings.
"The incident has occurred on a busy section of the M5, we are working with our police partners, and we appreciate this will cause significant delays to people’s journeys.
"In the meantime, we advise people to add a little extra time for their journeys, and to consider alternative routes where they can. We thank all drivers for their co-operation and patience and we’re working quickly to establish timescales for repair and recovery work."
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