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Motorists face a week of travel chaos with the Easter weekend getaway predicted to be the busiest in eight years.
The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014.
It also urged drivers to try and and travel after 7.30pm to avoid congestion.
RAC research showed Good Friday is set to be the busiest, with 4.62 million trips planned, followed by Easter Monday, when just under 4 million drivers are expected to be out and about.
A further 7.2 million will travel on Saturday and Sunday, with another 5.6 million not yet decided on which day they will set off.
Inrix, the traffic information supplier, highlighted several likely congestion hotspots.
The congestion hotspots include: The M6 north between Junction 26 (Orrell Interchange, Greater Manchester) and Junction 36 (the Lake District), The M25 clockwise from Junction 8 (Reigate Hill Interchange, Surrey) to Junction 16 (Denham Interchange, Buckinghamshire) and The A303 near Stonehenge, Wiltshire.
Motorists wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are advised to start their journeys before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.
More than 500 engineering works are taking place amid strikes on vast swathes of northern rail routes. It will create mayhem for the thousands of football fans travelling to London for the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
It comes as severe disruption on roads in Kent leading to cross-Channel services looks set to continue for days.
The RAC warned of motorway gridlocks as a record 21.5 million drivers prepare to take to the roads ahead of the four-day weekend, the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014
The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services.
P&O Ferries ships will not sail from Dover to Calais until at least Thursday, with rival carriers struggling to soak up the extra demand.
Europe-bound motorists have reported being stuck in traffic for six hours on Kent roads, and a 20-mile stretch of the M20 has been closed to store more than 4,000 lorries.
The bottlenecks have been caused by soaring numbers of drivers looking to reach the Continent for Easter getaways and the suspension of P&O Ferries services. Pictured: A view of lorries queued in Operation Brock on the M20 near Ashford in Kent on April 9
To make matters worse, getaways will be the most expensive on record due to sky-high fuel prices.
Latest Government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on April 4 was 161.9p, with diesel at 176.0p.
There could also be diesel or petrol shortages due to protesting eco-warriors blocking off fuel terminals, slowing down deliveries.
There was more misery for travellers yesterday as British Airways cancelled 82 flights and easyJet slashed 38. Pictured: A busy Heathrow airport as people head for Easter holidays
RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year.
‘It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.
‘Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads.
‘Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.’
Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips. Pictured: Traffic beginning to build up on April 8. Drivers have been warned to expect long delays this Easter weekend
Mr Dennis urged drivers to make sure vehicles are prepared for getaway trips.
‘This is even more important for anyone travelling longer distances than they have for several months,’ he said.
‘A breakdown is much less likely if a car’s oil and coolant levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth, have all been checked before setting out.’
There was more misery for travellers yesterday as British Airways cancelled 82 flights and easyJet slashed 38.
Cancellations are expected to continue amid staff shortages, but last week’s chaos at airports appears to have eased.
Good timing! Hottest day of year on way
After hard frosts, sleet and snow showers, sunny and warm weather will return over Easter weekend – and could bring the hottest day of the year.
Temperatures could reach 21C (70F) in eastern and south-east England by Thursday, as warm as Nice in the south of France. And highs of up to 20C (68F) are possible into Good Friday and Easter Saturday, with the rest of the Easter weekend likely to remain fine and dry in most areas.
Sleet and snow spread as far south as the Peak District on Friday, and a hard frost on Saturday night saw lows of -6C (21F) at Sennybridge in South Wales, -4.5C (23.9F) at South Newington, Oxfordshire, and -4.1C (24.6F) at Santon Downham, Suffolk.
Today and tomorrow will see sunny spells and showers, but temperatures are set to build, with highs of 17C (63F) in southern England today rising as high as 20-21C (68-70F) in London, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia by Thursday. The warmest day so far was March 23, at 20.8C (69.4F) in St James’s Park in London.
Source: Daily Mail