DRIVERS endured rush-hour misery after an overturned lorry resulted in a stretch of the A12 being closed, causing chaos across north and mid Essex. 

Essex Police officers were called to the road's southbound carriageway near Witham shortly after 4am today after reports of a “serious collision”. 

Upon arrival it was established a lorry had crashed into a bridge and the central reservation before flipping onto its side.

Braintree and Witham Times: Traffic - the closure caused serious congestion for morning commutersTraffic - the closure caused serious congestion for morning commuters (Image: AA Traffic News)

Following the incident the driver of the lorry was arrested and the road was closed on the Londonbound carriageway between Junction 22 for Rivenhall and 21 for Witham.

Police bosses said at the time the road was “expected to be closed until the afternoon” and warned drivers to "avoid the area”.

A diversion route was subsequently put in place, taking motorists off the A12 at Junction 25 for Marks Tey, along the A120, A131 and A130 before re-joining the A12 at Boreham.

Specialist recovery agents were tasked with working to remove the vehicle from the network, followed by barrier crews who assessed the damage at the scene.

The issue caused severe tailbacks in rush hour and delays throughout the day.

Braintree and Witham Times: Crash - the lorry driver was arrested after the incidentCrash - the lorry driver was arrested after the incident (Image: National Highways)

National Highways reported delays of nearly an hour on the Londonbound side following the incident, with more than three miles of congestion back to Kelvedon seen during rush hour.

Motorists in Colchester were also affected as a result, with traffic very slow for commuters, particularly along key routes such as Cowdray Avenue and Clingoe Hill.

One driver said: "It usually takes me ten minutes to drive to work but today is was over half an hour - it was ridiculous.

"Thankfully once I was on Ipswich Road the traffic was a little better, but getting from one end of Cowdray Avenue to the other was a nightmare." 

Another motorist said it took them about an hour to drive from Abbey Fields to the business park off of Severalls Lane.

The recovery of the overturned lorry was complete at about 2pm, however, the road remained closed, with contractors working to reduce the closure to lane two only.