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Portsmouth motorists face gridlock as lorry fire tackled

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HIGHWAYS officials are preparing to carry out repairs to the A27 after a major lorry fire which has left motorists trapped.

A spokesman from the Highways Agency said the A27 flyover would be closed while repairs are carried out.

Repairs are due to take place overnight. The start time of the work may be delayed as officials want to make sure they do not disrupt people travelling from the Pompey match tonight.

But with repairs due to take around 10 hours, the agency also wants to avoid disrupting rush hour traffic tomorrow morning.

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Police said the lorry carrying refrigeration units jackknifed on the A27 flyover above Eastern Road in Portsmouth.

Smoke from the fire can be seen from miles around.

Fire crews from Wickham, Waterlooville and Cosham were called out to the blaze at around 1.45pm.

Daniel Holland, who works at nearby Scotia Gas Networks in Walton Road, Farlington, said he and colleagues heard explosions.

‘Traffic is slowly grinding to a halt,’ he said. ‘There’s quite a lot of smoke. It’s a fairly big inferno.’

Bus operator Stagecoach tweeted that its 700 route is being diverted.

A Highways Agency spokesman said one lane has now opened on the A27 but there is still congestion in the area.

That includes traffic building up on the M27 between junction 12 and nine.

He added repairs to the road and barrier will take place this evening and possibly overnight.

Drivers have spoken of their frustration at being stuck.

Lisa Brookbank, 36, from North End, Portsmouth, and her three children Byron, 10, Watson, seven, and Leeuwin, five, were on their way to the Hayling Island funfair.

Joining them was Wendy Murray, 39, of Copnor, with her children Hayden, 11, and Harrison, eight.

She said: ‘We left to go to the funfair at 1.45pm and could see their was congestion but traffic was moving.

‘Then we just started to slow down and came to a stop.

‘I guess we don’t know how long it will be closed for and we aren’t prepared with food or drink for the kids.

‘Not sure how long the investigations and clear-up will take’.

Romanse, which provides traffic information for Hampshire, tweeted: ‘#A27 #Portsmouth - Vehicle fire eastbound at the #A2030 Eastern Rd jct. Carriageway closed, traffic diverted off and back on the other side.’

On Twitter @Keliamb tweeted: ‘Anyone heading towards Havant from Portsmouth, don’t try and join A27 and if you’re on M27 come off before Eastern Road. #accident.’

Hampshire police said they are diverting traffic onto the Eastern Road roundabout in a bid to minimise congestion.

A Portsmouth City Council spokeswoman said: ‘Traffic is being diverted from J12 (Marriott), through Southampton Road – London Road north of city.

‘Traffic is extremely congested getting out of the city.’

 

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