The incident started shortly before 4pm, after a van caught fire. Highways England said: “Due to a vehicle fire that has destroyed the road surface in ALL lanes on the M25 clockwise J5 to 6 we are having to close the M25 from J5 and also the M26 leading onto the M25.” Up to nine miles (13km) of traffic are currently trapped on the closed carriageway.
The fire has now been put out but the inferno caused damage to all lanes of the carriageway, which require urgent repairs.
There are currently 60 minute delays to journeys, with congestion reaching back towards the M26 J2a.
Motorists have been advised to avoid the major motorway and follow diversions instead.
Kent Police and Highways England Traffic Officers are trying to get vehicles moving again as quickly as possible.
M25 shut after van bursts into flames
Traffic stuck within the road closure, which spans about nine miles, is being turned around from the back of the queue.
Highways England said: “Trapped traffic is slowly being dealt with by rearward relief – within the roadworks area we are liasing with them to clear the heavy machinery so we can use the lane to clear traffic onwards towards J6.”
The vehicles are being escorted off the motorway due to safety concerns.
Highways England said: “Small groups of cars are being let through in groups within the roadworks however the concern is that obviously drivers have been stuck for hours and race on ahead and this is causing safety concerns – so have to be escorted.”
M25 shut: Traffic delays are currently about 60minutes
At 7.22pm Highways England issued an update, and said: “The #M25 remains closed clockwise J5/6 at this time as we clear the damage from the van fire.
“We are now working to move queuing traffic past the scene in two locations. It may take time to see movement depending on where you are.”
People caught in the traffic jam have taken to social media to vent their frustration at being stuck.
One person wrote: “I’ve had this view from my 44 ton truck on #M25 between jct 5 and Clackets Services for 2 and a half hours now.”
M25 shut: Traffic stuck in the road closure is slowly being released
Another user said: “Ahhh, Tuesday night on the #M25 #aintmovedinhalfhour.”
Normal traffic conditions are expected to resume by 10pm.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service said they were called to the incident at 3.35pm.
They said in a statement: “Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to reports of a van alight on the M25 near to Junction 5 for Westerham, on the clockwise carriageway.
M25 shut: Normal traffic is expected to resume by 10pm
“Two fire engines were sent to the scene and crews wearing breathing apparatus used hose reel jets to extinguish the blaze.
“No casualties were reported.
The cause is not yet known.”