One OPP officer called it a "big mess," and it's one that caused big problems for eastbound drivers on Highway 401 this morning.

Highway 401's eastbound express lanes at Neilson Road re-opened just before 1 p.m. Friday after a pair of crashes overnight led to a long closure during the morning commute.

The 401's eastbound express lanes were closed from Neilson Road to Morningside Drive after crashes in the same spot happened late Thursday and again early Friday morning.

The first crash happened at about 10 p.m. Thursday when a commercial vehicle crashed into a pickup truck in the express lanes. The crash caused a diesel fuel spill, which required the work of cleanup crews.

Then at 2 a.m. with the road closed and cleanup crews still at work, a transport truck carrying recycled paper slammed into two MTO trucks and a tow truck at the scene, causing a large fire. One member of the cleanup crew was taken to hospital with injuries that are serious but not life-threatening.


Eastbound Highway 401 traffic was being diverted onto the collector lanes at Neilson Road. The closure is expected to last until about noon. (Michelle Cheung/CBC)

In the meantime, all eastbound Highway 401 traffic in the area was diverted onto the collectors at Neilson Road.

CBC's Michelle Cheung was at the scene at 6:30 Friday.

"It is bumper to bumper in the collector lanes," she reported. "Traffic here is moving very slowly."