ROADS in Portsmouth were brought to a standstill as a major crash along one of the busiest routes out of the city caused traffic chaos for hours yesterday.
A collision involving three vehicles on the M275 northbound caused a van to tip onto its side and block most of the road.
The drama around midday resulted in the motorway being closed, forcing hundreds of vehicles to find alternative routes and major delays being caused.
*Video by Jason Kay. To view the full video click here.
Road systems for the area warned motorists to avoid the area while the motorway was blocked – and traffic ended up backed up in areas like Market Way and Anglesea Road.
And the owner of the house removal van revealed he was devastated by what happened – fearing the damage done could spell the end of his business.
Speaking to The News, Daniel Chandler, 28, of North End, said: ‘We’re covered by insurance, but it’ll come down to all the loss of business and the costs until they’ve paid us out.
‘This could close us down completely.’
He said the van that tipped over was being driven by his father-in-law Jason.
Mr Chandler was in another van driving in convoy, moving a family’s belongings from North End to Portchester.
Jason and another employee of Mr Chandler who was in the van which tipped over received only minor injuries.
But Mr Chandler said it had been a close call.
He said: ‘It could have very easily gone the other way.
‘We could have been talking about people’s lives.’
After the crash, Mr Chandler pulled up and walked back down the road to the scene.
And he said he was stunned to see the amount of debris which had spread across the road, fearing the worst might have happened.
Mr Chandler said: ‘It just happened so quick.
‘We pulled over to the hard shoulder, and as we were walking down we could see debris and smoke everywhere.
‘It was complete chaos.’
Mr Chandler then made sure others were alright.
He said Jason was shaken up and suffering neck and back trouble.
Mr Chandler said he thought it was amazing Jason had survived the crash.
‘He’s a very lucky man,’ he said.
‘I’d say he should go out and buy a lottery ticket.
‘Even the police said that on a scale of one to 10 they thought this was about a nine.’
Meanwhile, scores of people took to Facebook to talk about their problems getting around Portsmouth.
Chris Foss said: ‘I was leaving a training course in Portsmouth when this just happened. Had to go the long way coming out through Botley.’
Alex Hood said: ‘Left the car in Southsea, parked up and walked home; grid locked.’
Lesley Sparey said: ‘I got stuck coming through Eastney, took one and half hours to get to Hilsea!!!’
And Ali Duvell added: ‘I was on the motorway the other side and saw the car go over. Didn’t look good, hope everyone involved is okay.’
It took around two hours to re-open the northbound carriageway and drivers were warned about the possibility of delays for the remainder of the afternoon, with delays easing after about four hours.
Boarhunt transport manager Colin Ryan revealed recovering the vehicles was complex.
He said: ‘The whole operation to recover all of the vehicles took about an hour and a half. One car was on its roof and the other was on its side. That is why it took so long – we had to get the van out of the way, and then recover the cars.’
Police yesterday said no arrests following the crash had been made.