A HUGE car fire sent rush hour traffic into chaos as drivers faced long delays after the A12 was closed for hours.

The major road was partially closed after a car caught fire on the carriageway.

Drivers faced major delays following the incident as one lane was closed Colchester-bound between Junction 24 for Kelvedon North and Junction 25 for Marks Tey.

Firefighters were called to the scene this morning, at which point the car was 100 per cent alight in one of the live lanes.

Gazette: Blaze - the car on fire on the Colchester-bound carriagewayBlaze - the car on fire on the Colchester-bound carriageway (Image: David Simpson)

David Simpson, who witnessed the incident, said: “I was sat in the lay-by opposite and saw smoke coming from the other carriageway.

“I called the fire service, they took about 15 minutes to get there. I saw the whole thing from start to finish.

“I’m an ex-lifeboat man so wasn’t scared but just concerned about people in the car, but I could see they got out ok.”

Crews worked to extinguish the fire, as police closed one lane of the Colchester-bound carriageway.

Gazette: Closed - police on the scene after they shut one of the lanesClosed - police on the scene after they shut one of the lanes (Image: Essex Roads Policing)

A spokesman for Essex Roads Policing provided a statement at the time, saying: “Essex Roads Policing alongside Essex Fire have been dealing with a vehicle fire on the A12 Northbound between Junction 24 for Feering and Junction 25 for Marks Tey.

“One lane is open but there are long delays.

“Avoid the area whilst we sort it.”

As a result, traffic was very slow with drivers queueing back to Junction 22 for Witham North.

National Highways informed drivers at the time there were delays of “at least 45 minutes above normal travel times”.

“Please allow extra time for your journey”, a spokesman added.

Gazette: Damage - the burnt out car after the fireDamage - the burnt out car after the fire (Image: Essex Roads Policing)

Traffic was also slow on the London-bound carriageway back into the ongoing roadworks at Junction 26 for Stanway.

There were additional delays on the A120 Coggeshall Road, which was slow eastbound from Coggeshall to the A12 at Marks Tey.

First Bus services 371, 372, 71 and X71 experienced problems too.

The fire was extinguished by 8.04am, however, the clear-up and recovery process caused ongoing issues for hours after the incident.

Due to a fuel spillage, clean-up operations took several hours to complete.

The closed lane finally reopened at about 3pm.