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Two major motorways to close over 3-day Bank Holiday weekend for ‘works’ sparking chaos for millions of drivers

TWO major motorways are set to see closures this Bank Holiday weekend sparking travel chaos for millions of Britons.

Carriageways, slip-roads and link roads on the M25[1], both in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions, will be affected by the planned works in the coming days.

Britons are set to face travel chaos this weekend (pictured: M4 on April 29)


Britons are set to face travel chaos this weekend (pictured: M4 on April 29)Credit: Alamy

And closures are also set to hit the M20[2] this weekend, causing worry for anyone planning to make a cross-country trip during the three-day break.

The RAC[3] is warning that more than 16million drivers are set to hit the roads for the May Bank Holiday Weekend, with getaway traffic building from today before peaking tomorrow at 3.3million journeys.

Another 2.3million getaway trips are planned for Sunday, May 5, with 2.6million planned for Monday, 6 May, according to analysis by RAC and INRIX.

And 5.6million trips are expected to be made at some point over the weekend by drivers who are yet to decide which day to travel, the organisations say.

Today is set to be the worst day for hold-ups, with delays on major routes expected to take 13% longer than usual.  

Amid the great national getaway, National Highways[4] warns of M20 maintenance works for the moveable barrier in place along the motorway between Jct 9 for Ashford and Jct 8 for Maidstone and Leeds Castle.

More than 16M drivers to hit roads over Bank Hol – exact roads to avoid

More than 16m drivers are set to hit the roads for the first bank holiday weekend in May with traffic well above pre-COVID levels, according to research from the RAC and transport analytics specialists, INRIX.

The study suggests getaway traffic will begin to build on Friday, May 3, before peaking the following day at 3.3million journeys.

Another 2.3million and 2.6million separate getaway trips are planned on Sunday, May 5 and Monday, May 6 respectively.

Another 5.6million are expected to be made at some point over the weekend by drivers still deciding which day to travel.  

Transport experts INRIX advise drivers to avoid setting off between 11am and 6pm today, 9am and 2pm on Saturday, and 10am and 3pm on both the Sunday and Monday.  

Throughout the weekend, the best times to travel will be before 9am and after 5pm.

Today is set to be the worst day for hold-ups, with delays on major routes expected to take 13% longer than usual.  

Most major routes across the south and south west are likely to take an average of 50% longer than usual to drive on Friday afternoon, research shows.

On Bank Holiday Monday, parts of the north west, East Anglia and south west will be hardest hit by returning traffic.

Jams are predicted to hit the M55 eastbound between Blackpool and Preston from 11am, Cornwall to Exeter eastbound on the A30 and A38 from 11.30am and Norwich to Thetford on the A11 southbound from 12.15pm. 

According to the RAC,  the best times to travel include:

  • Before 9am on Friday
  • After 5pm on Saturday
  • After 5pm on Sunday
  • After 5pm on Monday

The worst times to travel are:

  • 11am to 6pm on Friday
  • 9am to 2pm on Saturday
  • 10am to 3pm on Sunday
  • 10am to 3pm on Monday

The works will include de-tensioning the barrier along with maintenance of the expansion blocks.

The means the M20 London-bound carriageway will shut overnight on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, betweens Jct 9 and Jct 8, Kent Live[5] reports.

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The closures will last between 8pm each night and 6am the following morning.

Two lanes of the ccoast-bound carriageway along this stretch of the M20 will also shut down during this time.

UK weather: May bank holiday forecast revealed by Met Office with warnings over heavy rain – but there’s some good news

Meanwhile, the M25 clockwise Jct 26 link road to M11 southbound Jct 6 will be closed starting from 10pm on Saturday, May 4 until 5.30am on Sunday, May 5.

The M25 anti-clockwise Jct 27 link road to M11 southbound Jct 6 will also be affected for the same length of time.

Diversions will be via local authority and National Highways routes, News Shopper[6] reports.

Other sections of the M25 anti-clockwise set to be closed unclude the Jct 23 exit slip road, Jct 24 exit and entry slip roads, Jct 25 entry slip road, and Jct 25 to Jct 23 carriageway,

Worst day to travel this bank holiday as 16 million Brits warned of motoring “mayhem” by RAC

THE RAC has revealed the worst day to go on the road this bank holiday as it warned 16 million Brits of travel “mayhem”.

Research by the organisation[7] and transport analytics firm INRIX[8] suggests that traffic will be “well above pre-Covid levels” despite an “unsettled” weather forecast.

The first of two May bank holidays, the weekend is a traditional staycation rush for UK drivers.

A whopping 16 million of them are expected to clog up major roads across a four day period from Friday to Monday.

Analysis from the RAC[9] suggests that Saturday May 4 will be the worst day for congestion, with an estimated 3.3 million journeys taking place.

A further 2.3 million are set to travel on Sunday as well as another 2.6 million on Monday.

However, that doesn’t account for a wild card set of 5.6 million journeys expected to be taken at some point across the weekend, with drivers still working out exactly when they will make their way.

That’s despite a relatively uncertain weather forecast which could see the holiday turn into a damp squib for some.

The Met Office is predicting “unsettled” conditions for much of the country, with a chance of rain, especially in southern parts.

The forecast for the weekend reads: “A fairly uncertain period through the bank holiday weekend with more likely a warm but cloudy period with bright spells, greatest in the north and showers more likely in the south.

“However there is also potential for a more unsettled spell to spread from the west with fresh winds and bands of rain mid-weekend, signals still unclear regards this.”

Nonetheless, temperatures are set to remain fairly mild, with highs of around 18C in London on Sunday and most other regions seeing the mercury reach the mid-teens across much of the weekend.

Fortunately for motorists, the RAC was also able to reveal the exact times to avoid if you don’t want to get caught up in the “mayhem”.

As you might expect, the best times to set off are before 9am or after 5pm, with Friday expected to see the worst of the delays.

And the organization urged drivers to give select routes a wide berth thanks to excessive traffic.

The M5 southbound between Bristol and Taunton is predicted to be the worst hit, with estimated delays of over two hours on Friday afternoon.

Similarly, the M53 southbound from Liverpool to Chester could see Brits sitting in their cars for an extra 45 minutes.

Major routes across the South and South West could see journey times increase by half too, with particular hotspots on the M55 A30 and A38 from Cornwall to Exeter.

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson said: “With COVID travel restrictions a thing of the past, catching up with friends and family is still the first priority for nearly half of drivers making leisure trips over the bank holiday.

“Since 2022 – the first full year since mobility restrictions lifted – drivers appear to be much more eager to make the most of the May Day weekend, with the total number of getaway trips this year far exceeding the average since 2017.

“We’re anticipating a ‘crescendo of cars’ on the road over the weekend with as many as three million motorists making leisure trips on Saturday alone.

“In addition to the majority of motorists planning day trips and short breaks, our data shows local routes to city and out-of-town shopping centres could see heavy traffic[10], so it’s best to head out early morning or evening if possible.”

Bob Pishure, transportation analyst for INRIX, added: “Although delays won’t be as severe as Easter, drivers should expect the lengthiest hold-ups on major roads to and from popular destinations this weekend.

“Delays will likely peak on Friday afternoon with some areas seeing usual travel times double as holiday drivers vie for space on the roads with commuters.”

On Sunday, May 5 a number of the closures will start again at 10pm, lasting again until 5.30am on Bank Holiday Monday, May 6.

This includes the M25 clockwise Jct 26 link road to M11 southbound Jct 6, and M26 anti-clockwise Jct 27 link road to M11 southbound Jct 6.

The entire Jct 23 to Jct 25 carriageway will be closed from 10pm Sunday to 5.30am Monday, including the Jct 23 to Jct 25 carriageway,

The Jct 23 entry slip road will also be affected, along with the Jct 24 exit and entry slip roads, and Jct 25 clockwise exit slip road.

Slough, April 29, 2024. Britons could face delays to their journeys this weekend


Slough, April 29, 2024. Britons could face delays to their journeys this weekendCredit: Alamy


  1. ^ M25 (
  2. ^ M20 (
  3. ^ RAC (
  4. ^ National Highways (
  5. ^ Kent Live (
  6. ^ News Shopper (
  7. ^ Research by the organisation (
  8. ^ INRIX (
  9. ^ RAC (
  10. ^ traffic (

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