DRIVERS were tonight warned to brace themselves for long journeys home as part of a Hampshire motorway remains shut following a fatal crash and lorry fire this morning.

Daily Echo:

This afternoon police are working to try to remove the wreckage of a lorry and a car involved in the incident.

Only then will they know the extent of the damage caused to the road and how long it will take to fix it, with overnight closures a possibility.

The incident involving several vehicles happened at 9.15am today.

The M27 is shut in both directions following the incident between junctions eight and nine.

Police confirmed a person has died and three others have been hurt in the crash.

Hundreds of motorists are stuck in a tailback stretching miles due to the vehicle fire on the M27 westbound just after junction nine (Whiteley).

Both carriageways have been closed.

Police have warned motorists to expect significant delays until 4pm while the incident is being dealt with.

A thick plume of smoke covered both sections of the motorway.

One motorists told the Daily Echo: "There are flames up in the air and a plume of smoke is covering the area."

Daily Echo:

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: "The closures are in place to allow police and other emergency response agencies to respond to this very serious incident. Please be aware that, at this stage, the road closures are likely to remain in place all day.

"We understand this may be very frustrating for those stuck in the tailbacks but can assure you we have maximum officers on site and are working to filter motorists off the motorway as quickly as possible. We very much appreciate the patience of all those affected during this time.

"We would advise motorists to avoid the area and expect delays on the nearby road network while traffic is diverted."