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Half-term travel chaos as smash closes M40

  • Lorry smashed into van and two cars before careering off road at Beaconsfield 
  • Roads officials warned drivers of 'long delays' stretching into the night
  • Workers are rushing to repair emergency barriers damaged in the pile-up
  • It comes as thousands of drivers take to the roads for the half-term getaway

By Scott Campbell For Mailonline

Published: 12:47 EDT, 20 October 2017 | Updated: 03:27 EDT, 21 October 2017

The M40 has reopened after a crash between a lorry and a van on the westbound carriage way leaving London yesterday morning. 

The outside lane of the road was closed while workers replaced a section of crash barrier which was destroyed. 

The incident happened between Junctions 1a and 2 near Beaconsfield. 

Fortunately, nobody was killed in the incident.   

It comes as thousands of drivers take to the roads for the half-term getaway with children given their annual October week off classes.

Emergency workers spent the night repairing damage caused by the crash on the M40 
Emergency workers spent the night repairing damage caused by the crash on the M40 

Emergency workers spent the night repairing damage caused by the crash on the M40 

Police stopped traffic for hours yesterday afternoon while clearing the scene with diversions put in place via exit and entry slip roads
Police stopped traffic for hours yesterday afternoon while clearing the scene with diversions put in place via exit and entry slip roads

Police stopped traffic for hours yesterday afternoon while clearing the scene with diversions put in place via exit and entry slip roads

Highways England said on Twitter: 'We're trying to release vehicles trapped within the closure between J16 and J17.

'With J2 open, one lane will remain closed for safety until emergency barrier repairs can be done overnight. Long delays from J1.

'Traffic stuck in closure of J16-J17 is being released- some past the scene, some by being turned to J16 - this will take time to do safely.'

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said that nobody was trapped in the four-vehicle pile-up.

But it is not only chaos on the roads that half-term holidaymakers need to worry about - with Storm Brian set to lash Britain today.

Steel barricades are being erected on the coast today before the 70mph winds and more than two inches of rain sweep in.

A 'weather bomb' is caused when the central pressure in an area of low pressure fell rapidly over the Atlantic
A 'weather bomb' is caused when the central pressure in an area of low pressure fell rapidly over the Atlantic

A 'weather bomb' is caused when the central pressure in an area of low pressure fell rapidly over the Atlantic

Defensive barriers have been put up in the Cornish town of Fowey by the Environment Agency ahead of Storm Brian
Defensive barriers have been put up in the Cornish town of Fowey by the Environment Agency ahead of Storm Brian

Defensive barriers have been put up in the Cornish town of Fowey by the Environment Agency ahead of Storm Brian

The wild conditions, caused by a 'weather bomb' over the Atlantic Ocean, are expected to cause widespread travel chaos with the worst weather forecast across southern and western England and West Wales today.

Defensive barriers have been put up in the Cornish town of Fowey - where Dawn French owns a £5million clifftop mansion - by the Environment Agency on roads most likely to be swamped as Storm Brian arrives.

Workers have been boosting flood defences in the Cornish town of Fowey ahead of expected high tides this weekend
Workers have been boosting flood defences in the Cornish town of Fowey ahead of expected high tides this weekend

Workers have been boosting flood defences in the Cornish town of Fowey ahead of expected high tides this weekend

Operations manager Mr Miller from the Environment Agency lays sandbags at the flood defence barricade in Fowey
Operations manager Mr Miller from the Environment Agency lays sandbags at the flood defence barricade in Fowey

Operations manager Mr Miller from the Environment Agency lays sandbags at the flood defence barricade in Fowey

Dave Miller, Michael Davis and Kieth Powell from the Environment Agency lay sandbags at a barrier in Fowey, Cornwall
Dave Miller, Michael Davis and Kieth Powell from the Environment Agency lay sandbags at a barrier in Fowey, Cornwall

Dave Miller, Michael Davis and Kieth Powell from the Environment Agency lay sandbags at a barrier in Fowey, Cornwall

The barricades have previously been used to protect cities against rivers bursting their banks, but this is the first time they have been used on the Cornish coast - and they are already blocking water from reaching the land.

Forecasters have also warned of flooding to homes, power cuts and delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport. 

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