National Highways have given an update on the works to remove a 'badly damaged' gantry on the M27 after yesterday's fatal lorry crash.

The westbound carriageway of the motorway has been closed between junctions nine and five near Southampton Airport after a lorry crashed into a gantry and hours later caught fire.

Sadly the lorry driver, a man in his 30s, died at the scene. Three people were arrested.

Daily Echo: M27 gantry being removed after crashM27 gantry being removed after crash (Image: National Highways)As a result, the stretch of the motorway was closed today as emergency works are being carried out.

The motorway network operator has since confirmed the gantry is in the process of being removed but it is not yet known how long that will take.

READ MORE: Man dies and arrests made after M27 crash involving lorry

The 'complex work' is being carried out and the closure is expected to remain in place throughout the day and 'possibly' into the night while the gantry is removed.

The westbound closure will remain in place between junctions nine and five to allow for the removal of the gantry, which was decommissioned and switched off yesterday, and planned works will also take place on that stretch throughout the closure.

Other work in the area, which would have taken place under closures at a later date, are also being carried out to minimise future disruptions.

Daily Echo: The M27 on Thursday morning after a man died in a lorry crashThe M27 on Thursday morning after a man died in a lorry crash (Image: UKNIP)

In the meantime, drivers are being asked to plan their journeys before setting off. While the closure remains in place, road users are being asked to follow the official diversion route.

Mark Hallett, National Highways Operations Manager in the South East, described the death as a 'tragedy' adding that 'our thoughts are with those affected by what happened yesterday'.

Describing the operation he said: “This is a complex situation and removing the damaged gantry will take a number of hours. This is a structure that is 9m tall and spans multiple lanes of traffic.

“The safety of those travelling on our network is our number one priority and keeping the entire carriageway closed is the safest way for us to remove the gantry.

“My advice to road users is please avoid the area. If that’s not possible, please allow yourself extra time to complete your journey.”