Christmas motorway delays ‘inevitable’

Motorists are due to face extensive lane closures and delays over the Christmas period due to roadworks, according to a new analysis.

Over 400 sets of roadworks on British motorways and A roads have been planned for the week leading up to Christmas, with delays for drivers called inevitable.

M4 will be the worst

The analysis of data from the Highways Agency by Churchill Car Insurance found that the M4 motorway will be the worst affected, with 34 separate roadworks projects planned for it alone.

Runners-up in the list of most affected areas include the M1 motorway, plus the M621, M6 and M5. The A5, meanwhile, tops the list of worst affected A roads, with up to 20 disruptions planned.

According to the analysis, 173 of the 400 planned roadworks will involve lane closures, while a further 134 will see entire carriageways closed.

The insurer claims that, as a result of the extra traffic during the Christmas break, that traffic jams and delays over the festive season will be virtually inevitable.

Steve Barrett, Churchill’s head of car insurance, said: “Our analysis shows that there are hundreds of road disruptions planned in the week before Christmas.

“Motorists should plan their journeys in advance and consider alternative routes, allowing more time for their travel, as there will inevitably be significant delays.”

He added: “Anyone travelling between London and Birmingham on Christmas Eve should be wary of the M40 as the motorway has four planned road disruptions which will likely cause severe delays of more than 30 minutes.”

Longer journeys than last year

As well as that, the latest Traffic Index report from satnav manufacturer TomTom claims that traffic congestion will worsen over the next few years, with journeys taking 27 per cent longer in the past year.

British commuters are now spending an average of 10 working days a year stuck in traffic, while previous reports that some drivers spent up to 36 minutes in an hour in traffic.

As a result, it’s estimated that motorists in the UK now waste more than a year’s worth of fuel in a lifetime whilst stuck in traffic jams around the country.

Furthermore, the RAC has claimed that the roadways could see an extra seven million drivers in the next two decades, potentially causing a congestion crisis by 2024.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Traffic forecasting is not an exact science but the direction of travel is clear: towards increasing jams.