Live exercise to test emergency response on M25 UK
United Kingdom – The Dartford – Thurrock Crossing on the M25, Britain’s busiest motorway, is to be subject to a full-scale live emergency exercise on Sunday June 11th 2006 between 01:00 BST and 06:00 BST to test the emergency response to a major incident in the tunnels.
The exercise – Operation Orpheus – will close the tunnels to traffic, meaning northbound traffic will be diverted through the Blackwall Tunnel from Junction 2 of the M25 rejoining the M25 at Junction 30 north of the Thames. Southbound traffic over the QE II bridge will not be affected.
Commenting on the exercise John Aspinall, Highways Agency divisional director south-east, said: "Holding Operation Orpheus provides an opportunity to fully test our response to a major emergency in the tunnels and to ensure that our contingency plans are as robust as possible."
The exercise will involve staff from the Highways Agency and its tunnel operator Le Crossing, all the emergency services in Kent and Essex and local councils.
By holding the live exercise very early in the morning on a Sunday, disruption to traffic travelling around the M25 will be minimised.
After the exercise there will be a press briefing at the crossing. The Highways Agency will produce a report of their findings in order to refine best practice for dealing with a major incident at the crossing.