Marmite closes busy M1 during early rush hour

29/11/2011'Scene picture in Rotherham, South Yorkshire where a tanker spilt its load of Marmite across the southbound carriageway of the M1 motorway.''rossparry.co.uk / Glen Minikin

29/11/2011'Scene picture in Rotherham, South Yorkshire where a tanker spilt its load of Marmite across the southbound carriageway of the M1 motorway.''rossparry.co.uk / Glen Minikin

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A HUGE clean-up operation was mounted after a tanker carrying more than 35,000 litres of yeast extract intended for jars of Marmite overturned on the M1 in South Yorkshire - causing chaos for rush hour commuters yesterday morning.

Police shut the motorway in both directions between Junctions 32 and 33 - Thurcroft and Catcliffe - at around 10.15pm on Monday after a tanker overturned following a collision with a camper van on the southbound carriageway.

The tanker’s cargo spilled out onto the motorway, forcing a major clean-up operation to avoid other vehicles skidding on the yeast extract and causing further mayhem.

Arrangements also had to be made for the tanker to be pulled upright and removed from the road once the remaining contents were drained into another vehicle.

Repairs had to be carried out to the crash barrier damaged in the incident and a specialist contractor had to be called out to clean the road surface.

Motorists faced lengthy delays as they were forced to follow diversions - clogging up all the surrounding road networks as thousands battled to find alternative routes.

The tanker driver involved in the collision - a 56-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent - was taken to Rotherham District General Hospital as a precaution.

He had to be cut free from his cab by firefighters but escaped with a cut elbow.

South Yorkshire Police said he was travelling up Guilthwaite Hill when he attempted to overtake a camper van travelling slowly because of a mechanical fault.

But he caught the wing mirror of the camper van, causing it to lose control.

A police spokeswoman said: “The HGV served across all three lanes, collided with the central reservation and overturned.

“The tanker spilled its load of yeast which went onto the northbound carriageway too.”

A spokeswoman for Unilever, which manufactures Marmite, said: “The tanker was carrying liquid yeast for use in the production of Marmite.

“Our driver, who has been taken to hospital, fortunately has no serious injuries.

The Environment Agency said the spillage could have caused an environmental disaster and killed fish had the yeast extract drained into watercourses.

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