Major motorway reopens after fire caused closure

A blurry photo of a busy motorway with thick black smoke billowing across both carriageways in the distance
Smoke was seen billowing across the carriageway on Saturday [Tom Dixon]

A major motorway has fully reopened after a nearby fire caused police to shut it for safety reasons for most of the weekend.

The M275 into and out of Portsmouth was shut in both directions on Saturday morning as a result of "thick, black smoke" from the blaze at TJ Waste & Recycling, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary said.

On Sunday morning, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service (HIWFRS) said crews were still "tirelessly working" on the fire.

A police spokesperson said the road was "likely to remain closed for the majority" of the day. By early Sunday evening, National Highways said all lanes had reopened.

The fire began in the early hours of Saturday morning in a large, two-storey waste processing unit containing 117 tonnes of domestic and commercial waste material, HIWFRS said.

The motorway was initially closed by police on Saturday morning.

It reopened just after 08:30 BST on Saturday with a reduced speed limit of 50mph in place, but was closed again just after 11:00 and remained shut for the rest of the day and throughout the night.

The northbound lanes reopened on Sunday afternoon, with the southbound route reopening three hours later, at about 17:00.

The force said the smoke made driving conditions unsafe and so urged people to avoid the area.

A large cloud of smoke hovering over a marina
Smoke from the fire was visible from Gosport Marina [Katherine Floyd ]

Portsmouth City Council said on Saturday that the Park and Ride service would be suspended on Sunday because the M275 closure meant cars were unable to access the site.

The authority added that the car park would be open to collect vehicles via an alternative entrance.

Local residents were advised to keep doors and windows shut.

A spokesperson for TJ Waste & Recycling said there were no staff on site at the time of the fire and that the area of the fire contained non-hazardous waste.

"The facility will be closed until further notice," they said.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened here and we apologise for the disruption caused to the public."

Smoke from the fire billowing across the sky, with sailboats in he foreground
Local residents have been advised to keep doors and windows shut [Alison Treacher]

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