RUSH-hour traffic was brought to a standstill yesterday after a huge spillage of diesel on the M56.

The eastbound carriageway between junction 16 at Dunkirk and junction 14 Stoak interchange was closed shortly after 4.30am after a collision between two cars and a fuel tanker.

The accident resulted in a large spillage of diesel from the fuel tank of the lorry, which covered more than 400 metres of road.

Motorists faced severe delays on the M53 near its junction with the M56 and on surrounding roads through Vicars Cross, Capenhurst, Shotwick, Queensferry,
Deeside and Mickle Trafford with many being held up for more than half an hour.

Drivers on the M53 were unable to leave at junction 11 to join the eastbound M56, and westbound queues stretched back nine miles to junction 12 at Runcorn.

Speaking yesterday, Highways Agency spokesman Neil Sterio said: “We do have long queues on the M53 south (back to the A55 at Chester) and north (back to junction 7) of the interchange where drivers cannot get onto the eastbound M56 towards Manchester. We have removed the three vehicles and are now cleaning up the carriageway.”

Motorists were diverted via the A5117 to rejoin at Junction 14 and there was congestion on the M53 to Junction 7, B5132 Overpool and on the A55 Tarvin Road to Junction 37, A51 Vicars Cross Interchange.

Workers travelling to Deeside from the North West were also hit by the hold-ups and motorists travelling from North East Wales in the direction of Chester and Manchester were also severely disrupted.

Denise Pickering of Paperback Collection and Recycling on Deeside Industrial Park, said: “I live on the Wirral and I took my normal route to work down the Welsh Road.

“It held me up by about half an hour. There was at least three times the normal amount of traffic.

“There are always hold ups when there is a problem on the M56.

There was a lot of more congestion and traffic taking a route that is normally busy. It was frustrating.”

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene. However, the matter was dealt with my Highways Agency officers and Cheshire Police helped to redirect traffic for a short time.

The road was reopened at 11am. No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.