M5 finally reopens in Devon 12 hours after potato lorry overturned

The M5 in Devon has finally reopened after a potato lorry overturned. The HGV containing 22 tonnes of the vegetable crashed and was left on its side between Exeter and Cullompton on the southbound side of the motorway.

It happened at around 8am on Wednesday and shut a stretch of the M5 for most of the day. One person was injured in the crash but the injuries are not thought to be serious, police said.

At the time, the M5 was closed between junctions 27 and 29. A diversion route was put in place. Then, at around 2.45pm, the closure was reduced to junctions 28 and 29.

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The recovery and cleanup was described as “complex” which is why the motorway was shut for around 12 hours. At the time, Sgt Owen Jones said: “Unfortunately it’s blocking all three lanes and the hard shoulder. We’re working hard to get it recovered but unfortunately 22 tonnes of loose potatoes are causing us quite some problems.

The overturned lorry(Image: Devon and Cornwall Roads Policing Team)

“It’s hindering recovery at the moment. We’ve got quite a few officers coming from various parts of the force to give us a hand unloading these potatoes before we can complete recovery.”

Police officers spent most of the afternoon emptying the potatoes mainly by hand and tried to rescue as many as possible for charity. At around 6.20pm, the potatoes had been cleared and attention then focused on getting the lorry upright and recovered.

The M5 then reopened in full at around 8pm. Recap how we covered the incident throughout the day here.


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