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Drivers caught in gridlocked traffic after crashes on the M2 between Gillingham, Blue Bell Hill, Rochester and Sittingbourne

Large parts of the north of the county came to a standstill last night as rush-hour commuters faced major delays following a tragic crash and other incidents.

Thousands of drivers were stuck in traffic after emergency services attended a collision on the M2 between Junction 4 for Gillingham and 5 for Sittingbourne.

Stuck traffic approaching the Will Adams Roundabout, Gillingham. Picture: Matt Peters(18928894)
Stuck traffic approaching the Will Adams Roundabout, Gillingham. Picture: Matt Peters(18928894)

The crash happened just after 1.30pm, partially closing the motorway until 10pm when it was reopened.

A second collision around 3.15pm closed two lanes of the M2 between Junction 2 for Rochester and Junction 3 for Blue Bell Hill. There were also roadworks on the bridge from Strood to Rochester and in Newington, slowing Sittingbourne-bound traffic.

Ambulance service spokesman Rich Airey said: "At around 1.40pm ambulance crews attended the scene supported by the air ambulance.

"Sadly, despite the efforts at the scene, on patient was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident.

"At 3.15pm we responded to another collision on the M2 around Junctions 2 and 3 near Rochester.

Emergency services on the M2. Picture: UKNIP.(18929309)
Emergency services on the M2. Picture: UKNIP.(18929309)

"Two ambulances attended the incident involving a van and a car.

"One patient was treated at the scene before being taken to Medway Maritime Hospital."

Kent Fire and Rescue sent three fire engines to the scene of the fatal crash and one fire engine to the crash near Rochester.

Speaking about the effect of the traffic on their call outs, KFRS group manager Mic Jackson said: “With any emergency call it’s our priority to reach the incident as quickly as possible, utilising blue lights and bells to move through traffic swiftly and safely.

“The heavy congestion yesterday as a result of two road crashes was noticeable, but fortunately with blue lights and bells crews are able to cut through traffic, albeit at a slower speed, with the cooperation of drivers in traffic queues.”

Much of Medway and the surrounding areas were gridlocked for hours while people negotiated diversion routes.

Many people were found themselves stuck while trying to head home.

Sittingbourne resident Matt Peters said: "It took me two and a half hours to drive from Strood back home.

Traffic in the Medway Tunnel. Picture: Matt Peters.(18928900)
Traffic in the Medway Tunnel. Picture: Matt Peters.(18928900)

"I left work just after 7pm, having worked late as I hoped the traffic would die down, but as soon as I hit the Medway Tunnel, there was queuing traffic.

"This lasted all the way to the Bowaters roundabout when I decided to avoid the A2 through Rainham because it looked completely rammed, and headed onto the M2 towards Blue Bell Hill, M20 and then up to the A249.

"After more than two hours, I approached Sittingbourne and the main road into town had been closed for roadworks.

"I have never see traffic like it. I was sorry to hear about the tragic death on the M2, that puts things into perspective."

Another driver, who asked not to be named, said: "I was supposed to be heading to London but it took me more than 90 minutes just to do half-a-mile out of the Medway City Estate.

"I'd been planning on driving to Ebbsfleet to get the fast train, but as the queues were so bad getting to the Wainscott Bypass let alone the M2, I had to abandon it and headed back home.

"But it didn't get much better as the whole of Medway was completely jammed from the tunnel right out to the Hoath Way roundabout.

"I stopped briefly to get fuel but it took me about two-and-a-half hours to get out of Medway. Eventually, I decided to go through Lower Rainham and Upchurch to the A2 which fortunately was a bit clearer.

"I've never seen queues like it. Everywhere you went it was total gridlock."

Were you stuck in the traffic yesterday evening? Get in touch: medway@thekmgroup.co.uk

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