Motorists who choose evening travel to avoid heavy traffic risk hitting Easter holiday traffic hell, experts have warned.
The big Easter getaway begins in earnest this week as the majority of schools break-up on Friday 31st March.
It’s one of the busiest times of the year for the UK’s road network, with the RAC estimating around 21 million journeys will take place over the Bank Holiday weekend alone.
Many drivers will consider delaying journeys until the evening to avoid congestion – often waiting until children are asleep before placing them in the car ahead of a long journey.
But with a slew of overnight roadworks planned over the Easter period – some beginning as early as 8pm and coinciding with the entire motorway being shut – Brits are being urged to check their travel routes carefully before setting off.
Experts at Select Car Leasing have analysed the list of planned roadworks issued by Traffic England.
Locations such as the M1 near Sheffield, the M3 in Surrey, and a significant emergency barrier repair site on the M25 near London Heathrow – have been identified as potentials for a detour nightmare.
Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, said, “When you know you’ve got a long journey to make, it’s tempting to let the daytime traffic die down and to instead set off later in the evening.
“But motorists need to be aware that if they adopt this strategy they risk running into the dreaded overnight roadworks planned by National Highways, which typically start at around 9pm and last until the early morning.
“Over Easter, there are roadworks that have the potential to shut all lanes of major motorways, necessitating what’s often a nightmarish – and wholly unexpected – detour.
“Be wise to the risk, particularly if you’re travelling with young children and pets, and check the Traffic England list of planned roadwork long before you set off.”
To highlight the point, here’s Select’s brief look at some of the areas – and times – to avoid at the beginning of the Easter break:
M1 (Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire)
Three lanes shut northbound between J14 and J15 (Milton Keynes, Northampton).
10pm to 6am, April 3-5.
Three lanes shut southbound AND northbound J15A-J15 (Northampton, Rothersthorpe)
9pm to 6am, April 3-5.
Four lanes shut on the same section of motorway from 9pm to 6am, April 16-17.
Four lanes shut southbound J31-29 (Sheffield to Chesterfield)
8pm to 6am, April 2-3.
Three lanes shut westbound between J2 and J3 (Gatwick, Woking)
8pm to 6am, April 3-6.
Three lanes shut westbound between J12 and J13 (Reading, Newbury)
9pm to 6am, March 31 to April 1.
M5 (North Somerset, Gloucestershire)
Three lanes shut southbound between J19 and J20 (Portishead, Clevedon)
9pm to 6am, April 2-6.
Two lanes (of three) shut northbound and southbound, J11-J13 (Gloucester, Stroud)
8pm to 6am April 3-6, April 11-4.
M6 (multiple locations)
All lanes shut southbound and northbound at J17/J18 (Northwich, Congleton, Cheshire)
10pm March 31 to 5am April 1.
Three lanes shut northbound J10-J11 (Walsall, Cannock)
9pm to 6am April 1-2.
Three lanes shut northbound J39-J40 (Shap, Penrith)
8pm to 6am, April 2-3.
M18 (South Yorks)
Three lanes shut southbound J1 (Rotherham)
9pm to 5am, April 3-4.
Three lanes shut eastbound J9-J10 (Ashford)
8pm to 6am, April 3-4.
M23 (West Sussex)
Three lanes shut southbound J11 (Crawley)
8pm to 6am, April 2-6, April 11-13, April 14-15.
Four lanes shut for emergency barrier repairs clockwise J14-J15 (London Heathrow)
10pm to 6am, April 1-3.
Four lanes shut southbound J2 to J1A (Beaconsfield, Heathrow)
10pm to 6am April 3-6.
Three lanes shut eastbound J14-J12 (Chester, Runcorn)
9pm to 5am, April 3-6.
M62 (West Yorkshire)
Four lanes shut eastbound J28-J29 (Leeds)
8pm to 5am, April 2-3.