M25: Drivers advised to ‘decorate the bathroom’ as first full weekend closure starts today

The unprecedented closure of M25[1] has raised fears over gridlock traffic this weekend and chaos for drivers, with officials urging Brits to avoid travelling. The five-mile stretch of the motorway[2] between Junctions 10 and 11 is Surrey[3] will be closed in both directions from 9pm on Friday until 6am on Monday while a bridge is demolished and a new gantry is installed. Jonathan Wade, project leader at National Highways[4], said: 'Please if you can either avoid travelling completely, find something to do at home - decorate the bathroom or something, or play in the garden.'

The M25's planned closure will be the first of its kind since 1986. Motoring experts have warned that estimates of congestion levels may be "optimistic" as local councillors in the area are expecting a "gridlock" situation. Hourly, the M25 carries between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles in each direction, from 10am to 9pm during weekends.

This includes those passengers heading to Gatwick[5] and Heathrow[6] airports, two of the busiest in the UK. National Highways said that drivers could face up to five hours its mitigation measures such as urging drivers to stay away weren't promoted. The Government-owned company is optimistic that its awareness campaign will help reduce traffic levels by half limiting delays to around an hour.

A diversion route of 11.5-miles has been created to direct motorway traffic along A roads. The National Highway is strongly encouraging drivers to not attempt to find quicker routes using sat navs as they fear this could lead to major congestion on minor roads. Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "We must hope National Highways has overstated its dire predictions of sat navs adding to the traffic chaos by taking drivers off the official diversion route, because the temptation to try to skip the queues will be intense, and the impact on actual journey times uncertain.

Whilst the modelling suggests around an hour might be added to people's travel time, that will feel optimistic to anyone used to the frustrations of driving round the M25 on days even without major construction works underway."

Three-bed house with garden on the market for just GBP9,000 - but there's a massive catch[7]Motorists have been advised to avoid the M25 due to a closure this weekendMotorists have been advised to avoid the M25 due to a closure this weekend (PA)

Councillors whose wards are on the diversion route expressed concerns about what will happen. Malcolm Cressey, of Runnymede Borough Council, said: "I think it's going to be a difficult period but we have to sort out those bridges. I think it's going to be very disruptive.

I would certainly urge anybody to try and avoid the area. It could end up with all sorts of gridlock in our area." Tahir Aziz, of Woking Borough Council, said: "We've never experienced something like this before. "It will have a significant impact in this area.

It will cause huge disruption and delays, and a lot of traffic jams." This won't be the last of the M25 closures with four more daytime closures of the motorway expected this September. The project is planned to come to an end at the end of summer in 2025 and should provide extra lanes at Junction 10, one of the UK's busiest and most dangerous junctions. Mr Gooding said: "National Highways needs to learn from this weekend's experience and work closely with neighbouring road managers to minimise the traffic impacts of the further planned closures.

It must give as much certainty and notice as possible - months rather than weeks - to drivers and hauliers, many of whom will be making trips that can't be put off to another day."

Earlier in the week, Jonathan Wade said it was difficult to forecast the congestion that would be caused due to the closure because "it's so unprecedented." He added: "It's very difficult to determine right now how effective all our traffic management will be.

Please don't travel if you can avoid it."


  1. ^ M25 (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ motorway (www.mirror.co.uk)
  3. ^ Surrey (www.mirror.co.uk)
  4. ^ National Highways (www.mirror.co.uk)
  5. ^ Gatwick (www.mirror.co.uk)
  6. ^ Heathrow (www.mirror.co.uk)
  7. ^ Three-bed house with garden on the market for just GBP9,000 - but there's a massive catch (www.mirror.co.uk)