‘Sorry I’m late – road was full of Marmite’

A tanker spilt its load of Marmite across carriageway closing the M1 motorway.'' PIC: Ross Parry
A tanker spilt its load of Marmite across carriageway closing the M1 motorway.'' PIC: Ross Parry
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Any motorist will know that travelling by road can sometimes throw up unexpected delays.

And drivers in our region have faced some of the most unusual in the country - caused by motorway spillages.

A spill of 20 tonnes of Marmite on the M1 in South Yorkshire and a pile of 10 tonnes of salmon on the M62 in Humberside have been featured in a list of the top ten strangest spillages on England’s motorways.

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It took the teams 12 hours to clean up and fix the damage after yeast extract spread across the M1 between junctions 33 and 32 in November 2011.

The clear-up teams had to remove the sticky black Marmite from the motorway and use sandbags to stop it spreading further.

The vehicle’s driver was freed after becoming trapped in the cab and damage to the central reservation was repaired.

In March 2013, an overturned HGV on the M62 between junctions 34 and 35 spilled ten tonnes of salmon onto the carriageway. It happened in the early hours of morning with highways teams mobilised in the middle of the night to hand pick the fish from the road.

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The motorway did not re-open until 6pm that evening after a complicated clean up operation involving tipping the HGV and repairing the central reservation.

Highways England created the list to help drivers understand the challenges it faces to clear up after unexpected motorway incidents.

Melanie Clarke, its director of customer operations, said: “Our roads are among the safest in the world, and safety is our number one priority.

“Our teams expect the unexpected, but of course, when you’re dealing with 10 tonnes of salmon, dangerous toxic chemicals, or emulsion paint, the clean-up operation is somewhat complicated. We know drivers get frustrated when their journeys are disrupted but we do all we can to clean the road quickly.”

TOP TEN SPILLAGES ON THE UK’S ROADS

Highways England has compiled a list of the top ten strangest spills on England’s motorways.

It features: raw human sewage, 6,000 chickens, hundreds of tins of baked beans, 20 tonnes of Marmite (yeast extract), thousands of lager cans, 10 tonnes of salmon, Melamine formaldehyde resin and phosphoric acid, animal blood, refrigerated liquid oxygen and powdered cement.

Highways England made the list to help drivers understand the challenges it faces to clear up after unexpected motorway incidents. Keep up to date with delays at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic.

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