Press release

Highways England to the rescue and gets big ‘tanks’ from Army

Quick thinking traffic officers minimise disruption as low loader carrying tank runs into trouble.

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Highways England traffic officers acted quickly to stop congestion on the M4 near Swindon after a low loader carrying a Challenger tank ran into problems.

The low loader had to pull over on the exit slip road at junction 16 due to a flat tyre on Sunday evening.

It looked like a full closure of the motorway for up 90 minutes would be necessary along with a diversion route through the centre of Swindon, so the tyre could be replaced.


But quick thinking Highways England traffic officers arranged for the army personal in attendance to drive the tank and low loader off the motorway separately so the repairs could be carried out away from the road.

A road closure was quickly put in place while the vehicles were removed and the whole incident was dealt with in 10 minutes.

Traffic officer team leader Sandy Osborough said:

We see all sorts in a day’s work but a tank is a bit unusual for us!

We’re pleased we were able to deal with this incident quickly and keep disruption to a minimum for our customers.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 9 March 2016