Expert negotiators successfully talked a distressed woman down from the 120-ft-high Rainbow Bridge over the M62 today.

The drama began around 10am when police closed the motorway from due to fears for her safety after she was seen on the bridge.

The closure affected both carriageways between Junction 22 at Rishworth Moor and Junction 24 for Ainley Top leaving thousands of motorists stuck for two hours on the motorway as the delicate dialogue between negotiators and the woman progressed.

The incident comes just days after the same stretch of motorway was closed for several hours on Thursday when a man, who has not yet been named, fell to his death.

Kate Bottley tweeted: "Currently sat in completely stationary traffic on the M62, praying for the person on the bridge ahead and those who are working with them @samaritans @MindCharity "

Highways England, the roads authority, tweeted to motorists after the incident concluded today: "Many thanks for your patience during this difficult incident."


The latest incident may lend some increased urgency to Highways England's plans to improve safety at the bridge after a coroner, Peter Merchant, demanded to know in May what measures Kirklees Council, Calderdale Council and the roads authority were considering.

He spoke out after hearing about yet another tragic death at the bridge: “It seems to me that further precautions ought to be considered to try to deter people from using that bridge to end their lives.”

'I'm no heroine' says woman who helped prevent suicide at Scammonden Bridge for second time

Last year Highways England revealed that although there have been seven deaths in eight years still no prevention measures were planned for the bridge which was erected in the 1970s and sits on the border of Kirklees and Calderdale.

In May the Examiner reported that eight months after saying nothing could be done, Highways England had now confirmed it was investigating how to reduce the suicide risk from the bridge, sometimes also known as Scammonden Bridge, which straddles the M62.

In July the agency told the Examiner it was looking at erecting a new barrier – though there is as yet no height for it – and improving lighting on the bridge.

Police at Scammonden Bridge

A spokeswoman for Highways England said then: “Any death on our roads is one too many and we recognise the important role we can play in influencing and supporting a wider community-based approach to suicide prevention.

“We are looking at the potential to put up a new barrier and lighting on Scammonden Bridge and are working with Samaritans, Bridge the Gap, the local councils and public health authorities in the region to address the wider issues.”