DRIVERS heading into Bolton via the M62 were delayed by more than four hours this morning after dozens of live chickens spilled onto the road in a lorry crash.

The lorry hit the safety barrier at about 4am between junction 11 at Birchwood and junction 12 at Eccles, prompting the Highways Agency to close the road heading towards Manchester.

Highways Agency officials say most of the chickens released in the crash were quickly shepherded back into the truck.

There were 6,000 chickens being transported on the lorry.

Lane three of the westbound carriageway was also closed briefly.

A small amount of traffic stuck behind the incident on the eastbound carriageway was allowed to pass the scene in lane four by 5am.

The carriageway was closed until 10.40am, and specialist recovery of the vehicle is now underway.

One lane is still shut on the eastbound carriageway.

Drivers were being told to take the southbound M6 and eastbound M56 from junction 10 of the M62 at the Croft interchange.

Traffic is queuing back to junction nine at Winwick.

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