M4 Junction 16 is back open, and traffic is flowing relatively freely.
Yesterday’s closure brought chaos to Lydiard Millicent, with traffic queuing from the Greatfield crossroads to Holborn. Gridlock ensued as diverted cars, HVGs and rerouted buses, tried to negotiate roads which, in places, are effectively single- track.
Highways England and the Police closed both slip roads Thursday morning, following a gas leak near Spittleborough. Local residents were advised to stay indoors and keep windows closed.
Traffic initially diverted largely to Hook Street, a single-track road. However, police subsequently closed this route to clear it after it had become impassable. Throughout the day, Hook Street was closed, opened, and partially closed in one direction to allow traffic to flow from Swindon to Bassett. Whilst open in one direction only, it was reported to be taking 45 minutes to pass. Tempers became frayed as HVGs, buses and and vehicles clogged the narrow road, passing places, and prevented residents from entering or leaving their properties.
Police suggested Hook Street, a single-track road, may not be the best alternative route to take. As the M4 slip roads and Churchill roundabout remained closed, they advised motorists to “find alterntative routes”, and directed them to drive through Greatfield, and Lydiard Millicent, to reach Swindon.
Wales & West Utilities worked hard through the day, and early evening, to repair the broken pipe.
A spokesman for Wales & West initially said that the damage had been caused by a “third party” and was unable to say whether there was any connection to the M4 Junction 16 works currently being carried out, and scheduled to be ongoing until Spring 2018.
However, this morning, Bill Frost, Wales & West Utilities Senior Operational Manager for Swindon said the damaged had been caused by contractors working for the local authority near Junction 16. He urged “anybody planning to work on the public highway or private land to please dial before they dig and contact our Plant Protection team to check the location of our gas pipes before they start work.”