Two lanes have reopened in a bid to ease traffic after a lorry laden with tyres caught fire on the M56.
Firefighters are currently spreading foam across the eastbound carriageway, after the HGV set alight close to the Preston Brook turn-off at around 6am today (Wednesday, November 26)
Police closed the eastbound carriageway as emergency services battled to deal with the incident, which firefighters say involved a vehicle laden with 'shredded tyres'.
The Highways Agency have now reopened two lanes, lanes two and three, in a bid to ease traffic, but say that the incident could be ongoing for several hours.
Lane one remains closed just after junction 11, while the four fire engines remain at the scene and firefighters continue to dampen down the scene using foam and hose jet reels.
Diversions are currently in place via the A56, A553 and A49.
It is not yet known if anyone was hurt in the incident, which caused wide spread traffic chaos at rush-hour.
A Cheshire Constabulary spokesman said: "The removal of the trailer that is on fire may take some time due to the nature of the load being tyres and the possibility of reigniting the fire."
The carriageway may need repairs and resurfacing works following the blaze due to the intensity of the fire, the Highways Agency have said.
A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: "At just after 9am we opened lane three and two to allow motorists to get past the scene."The fire service are still working in the hard shoulder.
"The entry slip on the eastbound carriageway at junctions 14,12,11 remain closed. Lane one is closed on the main.
"Lanes should begin to ease, while the fire service deal with the incident. The situation will potentially remain in place for a few hours.
"We will have to access whether it needs resurfacing due to the intensity of the fire."
A spokesperson for Cheshire police, who are present at the scene, advised motorists to avoid the area, saying: "The M56 eastbound is closed between junctions 10-11.
"Motorists are being asked to leave at junction 12."
The North West Motorway Police tweeted at 6.24am: “J11-10 M56 eastbound - wagon fire laden with tyres, traffic is stopped at present.”
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service say four fire engines have been at the scene.
Fire and rescue crews received a report of a trailer wheel on fire on a lorry on the hard shoulder.
The trailer, carrying shredded tyres, became involved in the fire, affecting the hard shoulder and slip road with smoke affecting all three lanes.
Firefighters, two wearing breathing apparatus, used two hose reel jets to tackle the blaze.
The crews are continuing to tackle the fire with hose reels and foam, and lanes one and two of the motorway are currently closed.
"Drivers are advised to plan their journeys and to allow extra time.
"A fully signed diversion is in place – following the solid black diamond symbol – via the A56, A533 and A49."
The North West Motorway Police tweeted that they could not yet say when the M56 eastbound will be reopened.