SEVERE delays affected drivers using the M1 motorway yesterday afternoon after a woman was injured in a crash on the south bound carriageway at the start of the busiest rush hour.
According to a fire service spokesman, the female driver became trapped and injured when her 4x4 car came off the road between junctions 39 and 40 at Horbury, near Wakefield.
The vehicle careered down an embankment at the side of carriageway and then collided with a tree shortly after 4.30pm.
Police closed the motorway in both directions at junction 39, near the site of the accident.
Junction 38 of the northbound carriageway at Woolley was also closed and drivers were advised to take alternative routes.
Fire and rescue crews worked to free the woman from the car and she was then airlifted to hospital by helicopter.
Another occupant of the car, a male, was also hurt, but not so seriously.
The police said that the motorway was not reopened until 6.30pm.
Rescue crews from both Wakefield and Skelmanthrope went to the scene.
The West Yorkshire Technical Rescue Unit from Cleckheaton was also mobilised, although the crew later turned back when they were told their services were not required.
A smaller closure between the exit and entry slip roads at junction 39 – remained in place until later in the evening but by then drivers were able to leave and then rejoin the motorway using the entry slip road.
Further south on the M1, the entry sliproad at Junction 35 was closed overnight because of roadworks.