THOUSANDS of drivers faced motorway chaos after a lorry blaze on the M62.
They were held up in huge queues after police were forced to close the motorway because of the blaze at Scammonden.
The driver of a lorry carrying pallets loaded with paint powder leaped clear of his cab as it caught fire yesterday morning.
He had been flagged down by a passing driver who saw smoke pouring from the vehicle as it travelled on the eastbound carriageway near Scammonden Bridge.
The motorway’s eastbound lanes were closed for more than two hours between Junction 22 at Windy Hill and Junction 24 at Ainley Top.
Highways Agency officers and police diverted drivers along the A672 Oldham Road and A629 Lindley Moor Road but there were queues on each.
Many drivers were also stranded on the motorway as fire crews battled to tackle the blaze.
It was the latest in a series of major hold-ups on the busy motorway in the past few weeks.
Since the end of January, there have been at least five other major incidents in which parts of the motorway have had to be closed, either as a result of accidents or vehicle fires.
Crew Commander Laurie Hayman, of Elland fire station, said: “We were called about 10am to reports of a goods vehicle on fire on the motorway, between junctions 22 and 23.
“By the time we and crews from Halifax got to the motorway, it had been closed by the Highways Agency and we were able to get to the scene fairly quickly.
“The lorry had been pulled over on to the hard shoulder and the driver was fine.
“We fought the fire with two hose reels and breathing apparatus but the cab was destroyed. There was some damage to the load of paint powder in sacks but we managed to save most of it.
“We believe the fire was caused by an electrical fault.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The eastbound lanes were closed for about two hours but the westbound lanes were not affected.
“No-one was hurt in the incident and we were able to open the lanes by early afternoon.”