Warning of long queues as millions hit UK roads for Christmas break | road transport | Daily News Byte

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Drivers are being warned to face long queues as millions of people travel to spend Christmas with friends and family.

A critical traffic alert has been issued. The RAC, which expects to make 7.9m leisure journeys across the UK on Friday and Christmas Eve, has published a warning for the widening of the M25.

Clockwise congestion between junction 7 for the M23 and junction 16 for the M40 is expected to peak at 12.30pm on Friday, when delays of around 50 minutes are expected.

Other roads where long queues are expected on Friday include the M60 near Manchester, the M6 ​​in north-west England and the M40 in Oxfordshire.

Junction 4 of the M20 westbound in Kent remains closed on Friday morning after a serious crash on Thursday. National Highways said vehicles were being diverted to exit and entry slip roads, causing three miles of congestion and delays of at least 45 minutes.

Drivers in Wales and southern England are also facing heavy rain, which the Met Office said will spread northwards to reach southern Scotland and Northern Ireland during Friday afternoon.

Strike action is mounting pressure on the roads ahead of Christmas Day.

The AA said Friday would be the busiest day on the roads this week with an estimated 16.9m journeys across the UK. A further 16.6m journeys are expected on Christmas Eve.

A strike by thousands of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) at Network Rail could lead to increased congestion, causing train services to end around 3pm on Saturday. The overtime ban is also causing major disruption to services by a number of operators on Friday, including Chiltern Railway, East Midlands Railway and South Western Railway.

The RAC said the roads would be busiest between 10am and 7pm on Friday – the last working day before Christmas. Transport analytics company Inrix expects travel times to be about 14% longer than the same period last year.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “We are expecting long delays on parts of the M25 today, combining Christmas getaway and weekend commuter traffic.

“We advise drivers, if possible, to avoid these roads around this time or delay their trips until after 7pm this evening when traffic is forecast to be lighter.

“Even a single vehicle breakdown is likely to add to the queues, so we encourage motorists to complete a few pre-drive checks before heading out – in particular making sure the oil and coolant levels are correct, and that the tires have plenty of tread and are properly inflated. Bloated.”

The AA’s head of road policy, Jack Cousins, said: “We advise people going out in their cars to be prepared for some congestion, particularly on popular routes out of London.

“Rail strikes have convinced more people to travel by car this year, and while hundreds of miles of roadwork have been removed to ease the pain, it hasn’t been enough to keep the queues at bay.”

Bob Pishu, transportation analyst at Inrix, said: “With pre-pandemic levels of travelers this holiday, drivers should be prepared for delays – especially in and around major cities.”

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