Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Lorry blaze tunnel undergoes checks

The structural safety of a tunnel on the M4 is being assessed after a lorry burst into flames inside it

The structural safety of a tunnel which forms part of a major motorway is being assessed after a lorry burst into flames inside it.

The blaze, which broke out at 8.30am on Tuesday, caused widespread traffic chaos on the M4 at the Brynglas tunnels.

A Welsh Government spokesman confirmed the fire had been extinguished and said that structural engineers are now assessing the amount of damage caused by the blaze.

Motorists are still being urged to avoid the busy commuter route. No other vehicles were involved in the fire and the lorry driver escaped without injury, South Wales Fire and Rescue said.

The Government spokesman said: "South Wales Fire and Rescue have now confirmed the fire is completely extinguished and they will soon be leaving the scene.

"Structural engineers will now enter the westbound tunnel to carry out an assessment of any damage caused.

"Traffic congestion is now obviously a major concern and we would urge any motorists planning on using the M4 in south east Wales to make alternative arrangements.

"Whilst we are doing everything we can to inform motorists in real time, with live traffic updates and wide area signing, we would ask for your cooperation and understanding as we attempt to relieve pressures on the network and reopen the tunnels."

A Welsh Government spokesman later said the road had reopened with a contraflow system in place through the eastbound tunnel.

He said: "Our multi-agency team are working around the clock to reopen the westbound tunnel. It is clear that there remains considerable work to clear debris and conclude the structural assessment to ensure the tunnel is safe for use. We will continue to provide regular updates and work as quickly as possible to resolve the situation. We would appreciate your continued patience and understanding at this time."

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