The M6 is not set to reopen until tomorrow (Friday, July 27) after being closed in both directions when a lorry crashed into a bridge.
Highways England have informed drivers that the motorway is still closed at J32 for Blackpool, Fleetwood M55 and J33 for Lancaster as work is done to make the bridge safe.
The lorry was travelling southbound shortly before 7am when it got stuck under the Turner’s Farm accommodation bridge over the motorway between the two junctions.
It has since been confirmed the driver was not seriously injured, but the support pier helping to hold up the bridge in the southbound hard shoulder has been so badly damaged that the bridge needs to be propped up before the lorry and pier can be removed and the motorway safely reopened.
Phil Stockford, emergency planning manager for Highways England in the North West, said: "The lorry is wedged under the bridge and around the pier and it’s going to be a delicate operation to support the bridge and then remove the lorry and pier.
"We’ll be working this evening and overnight to do this but will not open the motorway until we are satisfied that we have removed the risk of the bridge collapsing.
“We’re hoping to have this temporary arrangement in place and the motorway open by around 9am in the morning. In the meantime drivers should avoid this section of the M6 if at all possible and look for alternative routes or delay their journeys.”
Meanwhile, North West Motorway Police have been conducting welfare checks on drivers stuck in the chaos, handing out food and water provided by nearby supermarkets.
Drivers are being urged to plan their journeys before setting out and – particularly in the hot weather – ensure they and their vehicles are prepared in the event of being caught up in an incident or congestion.