THE driver of a heavy goods vehicle died after his lorry crashed through a motorway barrier and onto an embankment below.
The accident happened at the Weaver Viaduct near junction 12 of the M56 at about 10.15am yesterday, and left the westbound carriageway to Chester closed for much of the day.
Emergency services arrived swiftly at the scene to deal with a serious fuel spillage and cut the driver from the cab.
A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “The driver of the lorry suffered injuries which were fatal at the scene.
“A lorry travelling on the Westbound carriageway of the M56 collided with barriers on the Weaver Viaduct, before breaching the barriers and coming to rest on the embankment below.”
At 3.20pm a fire service spokesman said: “Firefighters have now removed the driver from the vehicle who sadly died as a result of the collision.”
Police are now appealing for anyone who witnessed the accident, or has information that may assist the investigation, to contact them immediately.
The driver's family were being contacted by police and further information had not been released as the Leader went to press yesterday.
The Highways Agency cut away the safety barrier to allow the HGV to be removed from the scene for examination.
One lane of the M56 was re-opened at around 12.30pm to ease the gridlock, and a diversion was set up to bring motorists back onto the motorway at junction 14.
The police spokesman said: “Following the incident, the westbound carriageway of the M56 was closed to facilitate the work of the emergency services. This created significant congestion on the motorway itself, and in adjoining road networks, and motorists were advised to delay their journey or plan an alternative route.
“After some time, lane three was re-opened, and emergency services worked to re-open another lane as we approached afternoon rush hour.”
Witnesses should call police on101, quoting incident number 211 of 12/08/2014.
* TWO men were treated by paramedics following a three-car smash on the M56 last night.
Emergency services were called to the scene on between junction 12 and junction 14 shortly after 6.15pm.
Firefighters were on the scene for about an one hour.
They released two men from the vehicles before handing them over into the care of paramedics.
Crews made the scene safe before leaving.