Motorists trapped as suspicious object shuts main UK highway

AP News
Posted: Sep 19, 2017 12:33 PM
Motorists trapped as suspicious object shuts main UK highway

LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of motorists were stuck for hours on one of Britain's main highways after it was closed Tuesday due to a "suspicious object."

The M1 motorway was shut along a 10-mile (16-kilometer) stretch near Milton Keynes, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of London, after the object was found under a bridge at around 7:30 a.m., Thames Valley Police said.

Photographs on social media showed people playing Frisbee and kicking a soccer ball on the empty road.

"There's a five-a-side football competition, a bit of rugby, a guy cycling up and down in the wrong direction," said Tim Mayer, who was caught up in the delay.

Seven hours after the object was found, police said the bomb-disposal squad had determined it contained "no explosive element" and appeared to be "some form of chemical."

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Chief Inspector Mark Lewis said the object contained "a highly corrosive substance" that had leaked across the road.

"There is no evidence to suggest that this is a terrorist incident," he said.

By late afternoon, police said the northbound highway had reopened and vehicles that had been trapped in the southbound lanes were being allowed to leave by a detour.