UK

Traffic tailback warning for bank holiday weekend

Motorway Image copyright PA

Motorists have been warned to expect tailbacks as millions of Britons travel over the bank holiday weekend.

The RAC motoring body said some 20m vehicles could be on UK roads between Thursday and Monday, with a busy period between 11:00 to 16:00 BST on Sunday.

The M20 in Kent is closed after a lorry hit a bridge, causing it to collapse. A motorcyclist was injured in the crash.

Police said the road - the main route to the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover - was likely to be closed until Sunday.

The crash had knock-on effects across the motorway network, with severe disruption on roads including on the M26 and the M25.

Eyewitness Sonny Gladdish, who was travelling several cars behind, said he saw a lorry carrying two diggers driving on the hard shoulder.

He described hearing a crash as the lorry collided with a pedestrian bridge between junctions three and four near Maidstone.

It collapsed across both carriageways of the motorway, partly crushing the rear of another lorry, he said.

The motorcyclist was travelling behind, and "threw himself off his bike" to avoid the collapsing bridge, he added.

The man, who is in his fifties, was taken to Tunbridge Wells Hospital by ambulance with suspected broken ribs.

Image copyright Fade Ogunro
Image caption A pedestrian bridge on the M20 has collapsed after being hit by a lorry
Image copyright Faye Ogunro
Image caption Disruption is severe, travel reports said

Meanwhile, the RAC said warm weather, rail maintenance and a boom in "staycations" due to a fall in the value of sterling have contributing to a rise in traffic across the UK over the bank holiday.

Monday is a day off in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but a working day in Scotland, which had its summer bank holiday at the beginning of the month.

The RAC said busy times on the roads over the bank holiday weekend were expected to be between 11:00 and 16:00 on Sunday and 16:00 and 18:00 on Monday.

Transport information supplier Inrix predicted congestion hotspots could include:

  • M25 between J9 Leatherhead and J21 Winch Hill Wood
  • M5 southbound from J14 Thornbury and J22 Highbridge
  • M25 between J4 Orpington and Dartford Tunnel
  • M27/A31 between Southampton and Ringwood
  • M4 westbound from London to the West Country

National Express says it will be busiest weekend of the year for its services, with hundreds of thousands of passengers booked on coaches.

Music festivals this weekend include Reading and Leeds, Creamfields in Cheshire, and CarFest South in Hampshire.

Engineering works

Highways England said almost 98% of England's motorway and major A roads would be clear of roadworks over the weekend.

But Network Rail said its larger upgrades were carried out over bank holidays because there were fewer passengers travelling.

Almost 1,000 engineering projects are taking place including a signalling upgrade in the Bristol area, affecting Great Western passengers; track replacement between Milton Keynes and Rugby; and a project to electrify the railway through Chorley.

Ports, the Channel Tunnel and airports are also expected to be exceptionally busy, with travel organisation Abta estimating two million Britons will fly abroad between Friday and Monday.

More than 440,000 people are expected to depart from Heathrow over the weekend; 311,000 from Gatwick; 150,000 from Stansted; and more than 103,000 from Manchester.

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