A lorry fire shut the M62 near Huddersfield causing massive delays for drivers.
The blaze broke out in the cab just after junction 23 at Outlane on the westbound carriageway shortly after 9am yesterday.
The fire quickly took hold and gutted the cab, sending smoke billowing across the carriageway.
The westbound carriageway was closed while fire crews doused the flames and the outside lane was eventually reopened shortly after 10am but by then huge queues had built up stretching back several miles beyond junction 26 at Chain Bar.
Local roads also became clogged and drivers hoping to avoid the chaos by using the Woodhead Pass found themselves in six mile tailbacks.
Crew Manager Kerry Blonfield from Huddersfield fire station said they were covering at Rastrick fire station when the call came in.
“When we got to Ainley Top we could see the smoke so we knew it was a serious job,” he said. “The driver said he had seen smoke and flames coming from the front of the cab so pulled over to the hard shoulder, grabbed his bag and jumped out. The fire then quickly took hold of the cab and was starting to spread to the trailer.”
The lorry was fully loaded with plywood.
One Huddersfield crew remained with the lorry until 2pm when a recovery truck arrived.
Crew Manager Blonfield added: “The lorry runs on both diesel and gas and so has a gas conversion kit which meant we needed to remain with it in case there was a problem with the cylinder.”
Two fire engines - one from Slaithwaite and the other from Halifax - were needed to ferry water to the scene.
Only two lanes had been reopened by 2.30pm.
Here are the alternative routes motorists can take to avoid the M62.
1) A62 Manchester Road
Before the M62 this was the main route from Huddersfield to Manchester.
In those days there wasn’t nearly as much traffic but it’s still a viable alternative to a gridlocked M62 .
The route is pretty clear until you’re approaching Oldham but then it’s just five miles into Manchester or a couple of miles to the M60 which will take you to Manchester Airport.
2) A640 New Hey Road
This scenic route over Marsden Moor and into Saddleworth is clear most of the time.
Once you’re in Denshaw you can get to Manchester through Oldham on the A672 Oldham Road.
If the congestion is on the Yorkshire side of the Pennines you can rejoin the M62 at junction 22.
Go a few more miles on the A640 (then called Rochdale Road) and you can rejoin the M62 at junction 21 (Milnrow).
3) A635 Greenfield Road
If you live in the Holme Valley a drive across Saddleworth Moor is not only spectacular but it could also save you time.
When you reach Greenfield you can turn right onto the A669 Chew Valley Road will take you to Manchester via Oldham.
Or stay on the A635 and it will take you to Manchester and the M60 through Ashton-under-Lyne.