Friday, 29 August 2014

M11 hard shoulder madness: . . .


M11 hard shoulder madness: 

child plays on scooter and holidaymakers walk with suitcases amid Harlow-Stortford crash gridlock

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A young woman was airlifted to hospital after her car crashed into a tree, shutting the M11 between Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford yesterday (Sunday, August 3).

Traffic was brought to a standstill for at least three hours and there were lengthy tailbacks as a result of the accident, the second in as many days on the northbound stretch between junctions 7 and 8.

The collision happened at about 11.30am and involved two vehicles, a silver Citroen C5 estate and a silver and black Mitsubishi Shogun.

The Shogun left the carriageway, hitting a tree. Its driver, a 26-year-old woman from Margate, Kent, had to be airlifted to the Royal London Hospital. Her condition is described as serious but stable.

On the Herts & Essex Observer’s Facebook page, Michael John Palmer said: “I got through that just before they closed it off ... was a pretty nasty-looking crash. The motor folded round the tree like a glove. Lucky if they survived it.”

Police closed the motorway at junction 7 – resulting in further tailbacks to junction 6 (M25) – so that an air ambulance could land to take the casualty to hospital and for crash investigators to gather evidence.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “Officers are grateful to motorists who patiently endured the delays whilst this vital work was carried out.

“They would also like to appeal for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact PC Paul Lindup at the Chigwell road policing unit on Essex Police 101.”

With delays dragging on, some motorists reported seeing people en route to Stansted Airport walking along the hard shoulder with their baggage in an attempt to make their flights.

One of them, Louis Costa, tweeted: “Just seen two people walking down hard shoulder with their suitcase. They definitely aint catchin their flight.”

The Highways Agency urged motorists to remain in their vehicles, but some ignored the warning.

According to motorists, some people stood on the southbound carriageway to watch the air ambulance take off while, incredibly, May Simpson tweeted: “Are you actually stupid letting your child play on their scooter on the hard shoulder? Seriously?”

Frustrations mounted as motorists resorted to using the hard shoulder to jump the queue. Tom Clamp tweeted: “Clever people driving down the hard shoulder and blocking the ambulances #idiots.”

One person noticed a driver asleep at the wheel, while Rebecca Tobin said on Twitter: “Big round of applause to the prick in the Poundland lorry who parked in a lane and went for a wander. Well done mate.”

As the hours ticked by and the temperatures peaked at 23C (73.4F), motorists – some travelling with small children – who were stuck on the motorway began to feel the effects of being without food and water.

One offered to swap cupcakes in exchange for water while Alexandra was prepared to resort to more desperate measures: “Will exchange sister for Marmite on toast.”

But there was help at hand, as May Simpson tweeted: “The kindest lady ever came on her bike to the M11 and is handing out bottles of water. We need more nice people like this. Thank you!”

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