A LORRY fire caused traffic chaos across the A1M in North Yorkshire after the southbound carriageway was totally closed off for eight hours as emergency services battled to contain the blaze and clear up the debris.

They managed to clear the carriageway overnight but the road was blocked through the busy rush hour on Monday evening with up to eight miles of traffic backed up as vehicles were diverted along the A168 road near Boroughbridge and Dishforth.

At one stage during the clear up motoring organisations reported the congestion was adding up to an hour and a quarter to normal journey times.

The fire happened sometime after 3pm forcing emergency services to close off the A1M between junction 47 and the A59 turn-off to Harrogate and York and Junction 47 which is the main exit for Wetherby.

Diversions were set up along the A168 leaving drivers with an extensive detour along the single carriageway road which is part of the old A1 and runs alongside the motorway.

By 11pm fire crews from Harrogate and the surrounding area had managed to clear debris from one lane of the road but it took another four hours before the carriageway could be completely reopened. Large amounts of extinguishing foam which had been used by fire crews had to be cleared away before checks could be carried out on the surface of the road and repairs made. There were no reports of any injuries in the fire.

It is understood batteries on the vehicle hampered the operation to tackle the fire.

Drivers took to social media to express their frustration, one saying: “I’ve been stuck for over an hour in the backlog, obviously the emergency services have done a great job but this fire has caused real chaos for many people.”