UK: Travel misery for football fans heading to Wembley as M1 problems continue

Disruption for sports fans and Easter holidaymakers continued today as parts of the M1 were set to remain closed in both directions until around 7pm after a fire.

The Highways Agency said it hoped to open one northbound lane by the end of today’s FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City at Wembley.

But a spokesman said the southbound carriageway would remain shut between junctions one and four “until it is safe to be reopened”.

With higher traffic volumes anticipated today the closure is likely to cause problems for those leaving London for an Easter holiday, football fans heading to Wembley and those travelling for tomorrow’s London Marathon.

Engineers were continuing to assess the damage caused by a fire yesterday in a scrapyard beneath the M1 between the M25 and North Circular Road in north London.

Yesterday around 40 firefighters tackled a blaze in the scrapyard, which broke out in the early hours at a site close to Scratchwood Services and Ellesmere Avenue in Mill Hill.

A number of gas cylinders were involved in the blaze and a hazard zone was set up in case they exploded in the heat, London Fire Brigade said.

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About 50 people living in properties near the scrapyard were temporarily evacuated as a precaution while the cylinders, some of which were acetylene, were cooled and made safe. Train lines close to the area were also shut.

Highways Agency engineers have been given access to the site of the fire underneath the motorway to assess the extent of the damage.

The spokesman added that significant travel delays were expected and drivers should consider alternative routes or means of transport.