Easter travel: The roads you need to avoid as Yorkshire prepares for wintry Bank Holiday weekend

The great Easter getaway is expected to start this evening amid warnings that this could be one of the busiest bank holidays ever experienced on the roads.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 29th March 2018, 1:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th March 2018, 2:10 pm
Poor weather, roadworks and an increased level of holiday traffic will make the roads very busy this Easter weekend.
Poor weather, roadworks and an increased level of holiday traffic will make the roads very busy this Easter weekend.

Both the RAC and the AA have issued warnings for drivers to make sure they are fully prepared for their journeys as 19 million people are expected to escape for the long weekend.

With the first holiday of the year coming earlier than usual, it is predicted that many families will use the time to get a long break in before the wait for summer.

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Poor weather, roadworks and an increased level of holiday traffic will make the roads very busy this Easter weekend.

Hundreds of miles of roadworks will be suspended across British motorways and A-roads as Highways England looks to make the great getaway as painless as possible, but many projects will continue and cause even further delays for the increased levels of traffic.

Highways England said it would finish or lift roadworks on 99% of the network by 06:00 BST on Thursday and that only "essential works" or those that it could not remove "due to safety reasons" would be left in place.

Customer service director Melanie Clarke said: "We're doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that's why we're keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks."

Poor weather, roadworks and an increased level of holiday traffic will make the roads very busy this Easter weekend.

Largest roadworks projects staying in place over Easter

* A64 Bramham, West Yorkshire to Askham Bryan, York - Narrow lanes and 40mph speed limit - 5 miles

* A1 Leeming to Barton at junction 52, Catterick, North Yorkshire - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 4 miles

* M621 junctions 1 to 7, Leeds - Narrow lanes and 30mph speed limit - 2.5 miles

* A1(M) junctions 59 to 60, County Durham - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 3 miles

* M6 Junction 2 to 4, near Coventry - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 11.8 miles

* M4 junctions 12 to 13, near Reading - Narrow lanes and reduced speed limit - 10 miles

* M6 junction 8 to M5 junction 3, near Oldbury, West Midlands - Reduced speed limit - 7 milesM4 junctions 8 to 11, near Reading - Narrow lanes and reduced speed limit - 3 miles

* M5 junction 5 to 4a (northbound), near Bromsgrove, West Midlands - Reduced speed limit - 2.6 miles

* A45 Chowns Mill to Irchester, near Wellingborough - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 2.5 miles

Breakdown services issue advice and warnings ahead of getaway

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said this weekend promises to be one of the busiest Bank Holidays on record, and not evem the predicted poor weather will put people off.

“While Easter is a little earlier this year than last, our research suggests drivers are just as keen as ever to get away and make the most of the long weekend," he said. "In fact, between Thursday and bank holiday Monday our data indicates around a million more confirmed leisure journeys by car than in 2017.

"The ‘Beast from the East’ might have departed but much more unsettled conditions look set to make a very unwelcome return.

"We strongly recommend motorists keep abreast of the weather forecast through this week to help them organise their trips, especially if they are planning on driving any great distance.

“If you are planning a longer trip, we strongly recommend you ensure your car is up the job before you set out. Spending just a few minutes checking things like the condition of your vehicle’s tyres, its oil and screenwash levels and of course ensuring you have enough fuel for your journey, could make the difference between a trouble-free journey and an undesirable breakdown at the roadside.”

The AA has also issued its own advice for Easter travel, stating that 81 per cent of the 20,435 members who took part in an online survey said they would be travelling somewhere this weekend and causing vastly increased traffic on the roads.

A spokesman said: "With Easter falling early this year and a longer wait until summer, this bank holiday weekend is likely to be one of the busiest on the roads in recent years.

"The latest AA-Populus poll of 20,435 AA members* revealed that more than four fifths (81%) of respondents plan to drive somewhere on holiday or an outing over the Easter weekend – equating to nearly 26 million UK drivers embarking on road trips.

"Bank holiday traffic will peak on Saturday (31 March), with two thirds (66%) planning a car journey. Easter Sunday will be the quietest single day, but will still see 55% (around 17.6 million drivers) heading out on the road.

"As the first major getaway of the year, most drivers (45%) will take the opportunity to visit family or friends over the long weekend (42% men vs 50% women). And with the threat of more bad weather looming, many are seeking indoor activities, with a quarter of men and more than a fifth (21%) of women planning a visit to an out of town superstore or shopping centre."

Predicted Easter traffic hotspots

* M25 between Gatwick Airport and M1

* M3 south west of London

* M4 west of London and between Cardiff and Swansea

* A23/M23 to Brighton

* A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth

* M4/M5 around Bristol

* M5 from Bristol to Taunton

* A303 Stonehenge

* A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall

* M55 between Preston and Blackpool

* A14 between the Midlands and the coast

* A66 between M6 and the coast

* M53 between Liverpool and Chester

* A55 North Wales Expressway, Chester to Bangor