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M56 reopens after tanker crash chaos

A motorway has reopened, hours after a tanker carrying a hazardous chemical overturned.

The M56 in Cheshire was closed in both directions between junctions 11, Daresbury, and 14, Hapsford, after the accident on the eastbound carriageway near Junction 14, causing huge tailbacks.

It is understood that the lorry was carrying the chemical cresol, with police saying a significant quantity of a hazardous but non-explosive substance had leaked on to the carriageway.

Eight people are believed to have been injured, with three taken to hospital to be treated for skin irritation caused by the chemical.

Cheshire Police said the motorway had reopened in both directions shortly before 5am.

On Tuesday, a police spokesman said: "The incident involves a HGV tanker which overturned on the eastbound carriageway between junctions 12 and 14 at approximately 3.45pm today.

"It has now been confirmed that the tanker was carrying a hazardous, but non-explosive, substance, a significant quantity of which has leaked out on to the carriageway."

At one point a 1,800m cordon was set up and people in nearby villages of Helsby, Hapsford, Frodsham and Elton, between Ellesmere Port and Runcorn, were advised to stay indoors with their windows and doors closed. The cordon was later reduced to 400m.

Motorists who were within view of the tanker were advised to turn off their air conditioning ventilation system and close their windows, with Highways England patrolling the tailbacks to help anyone in need of assistance.

The incident also caused delays on rail services because of the temporary closure of the train line through Helsby. Police said that though it had reopened, delays are expected on services between Runcorn, Chester and Liverpool.

There was also a second crash on the motorway, with three people injured in a one-car crash on the westbound carriageway between junctions 12 and 13.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue said they cut one person free from the car.

:: There were more problems for motorists on the M20 in Kent.

The motorway was closed in both directions for a time after a collision near junction 11 at Hythe.

Police said the crash on the coastbound carriageway of the M20 involved a van and a lorry.

The driver of the van was freed by fire crews and taken to a London hospital, where his injuries were described as "serious".

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