M6 reopens after lorry fire melts tarmac and causes traffic jam
A motorway which was shut for much of the day has reopened after a ferocious lorry blaze melted the tarmac.
Drivers endured hours of misery after the M6 was closed at junction 13 for Stafford south with queues of up to five-and-a-half miles stretching back from the scene at one stage.
The weekend was forecast to be one of the busiest on the roads with many schools breaking up for the summer holidays.
Lengthy tailbacks developed as road crews repaired 640 square metres of badly damaged road.
All three lanes were reopened shortly after 5.20pm according to Highways England, nearly 16 hours after the initial fire broke out.
As the closure went on emergency services handed out water to some drivers with reports of stranded motorists walking to Stafford services for supplies.
In a statement on its website, Highways England said: "The M6 southbound between junction 13 (Stafford south) and junction 12 (Cannock) has fully re-opened after an earlier severe HGV fire and subsequent extensive resurfacing work.
"All lanes are now running."
Dramatic footage of the truck which caught fire at about 1.30am has also emerged showing the ferocity of the blaze with explosions amid the wreckage and flames spilling across the carriageway.
The fire was under control by 3am.
Eyewitness 18-year-old Zakir Ullah and his family were travelling south from Manchester to Birmingham after celebrating Eid when they came across the blazing truck in the early hours of the morning.
He said: "We were just heading home, when we came across the truck at about 1.45am. It was exploding.
"We literally stayed stalled until 4am and only got home at about 5am."