A lorry fire on the M5 brought misery to thousands of drivers this afternoon as smoke reduced visibility and forced both sides of the motorway to be closed. Huge tailbacks built up while firefighters tackled the blaze.

The fire broke out at around 3pm and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene. By 3.10pm, the northbound carriageway was closed. 15 minutes later, the southbound carriageway was also shut to traffic as smoke engulfed the motorway.

Huge queues started to form in both directions, at one point extending six miles from the site of the stricken lorry at the junction 19 slip road for the M5 northbound, south of the Avonmouth Bridge.

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Southbound traffic was released at around 4.20pm and the fire had been extinguished by 5pm. Soon afterwards, one lane of the northbound carriageway was reopened.

There were one-hour delays and approximately five miles of queuing traffic, according to National Highways. At 6pm, queues on the northbound carriageway of the M5 stretched back to junction 21 and there remained 45-minute delays.

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Traffic monitoring service Inrix reports: "Severe delays due to earlier vehicle fire on M5 northbound from J19 A369 Martcombe Road (Portishead) to J18 M49. Congestion to before J20 (Clevedon) and approaching Bristol, Congresbury and Bristol Airport as traffic diverts away. All lanes have been reopened."