Brits warned of Easter weekend ‘carmageddon’ as 14 million journeys planned with double normal travel times

25 March 2024, 10:04 | Updated: 25 March 2024, 10:09

Brits have been warned to expect delays when travelling this bank holiday weekend.
Brits have been warned to expect delays when travelling this bank holiday weekend. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Brits have been warned to expect long delays during their Easter travels as more than 14 million journeys are expected on the roads this weekend.

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The RAC has warned that journeys on hotspot routes could take double the usual time this Easter weekend as it coincides with the beginning of school holidays.

RAC spokeswoman Alice Simpson said: “With Easter falling earlier than usual at the start of the school holidays, it could be Carmageddon for holidaymakers.

“Anyone who can delay leaving on Thursday until much later in the evening or set off as early as possible on Good Friday is likely to have a better journey than those who travel during the peak periods of the day.

“Lengthy queues can be expected along routes to the usual hotspots like the West Country, the Lake District and the south coast, especially during the middle of the day when most people make trips.”

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Some 14 million journeys are expected on the Easter weekend.
Some 14 million journeys are expected on the Easter weekend. Picture: Alamy

Around 2.6 million journeys are expected to be carried out on Good Friday, with a follow-up of 2.3 million on both Easter Saturday and Sunday, a survey commissioned by the RAC found.

Two million trips are expected on the Thursday before the bank holiday weekend as well as on Easter Monday.

An additional 3.3 million journeys with no set travel date are also expected at some point over the bank holiday weekend, bringing the total number of journeys up to around 14.5 million during this period.

Travel times are expected to peak between 2pm and 7pm on Thursday, as holidaymakers hit the road at the same time as regular commuters.

Meanwhile, the western section of the M25 between the M23 for Gatwick and the M1 for Hertfordshire is expected to be the busiest route.

Is it predicted journeys from 4pm on this route will take more than two hours, which is twice as long as normal, according to Inrix.

This is likely to be the case on the M5 southbound between Bristol and Taunton, and the M3 between the M25 and the south coast too.

There will also be no trains on the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes from Good Friday until Easter Monday as Network Rail carries out engineering work.

Disruption is also expected on the line in Glasgow and Huddersfield.

Lawrence Bowman, Network Rail's network strategy director, said there is "never a good time to do the work we need to do" but said that fewer commuters on the bank holiday weekend provide an “opportunity to do major work we couldn't do in a normal weekend”.

He added: “We've got 493 different pieces of work taking place this Easter, most happening overnight," he added, "including laying over 8,000 metres of new rail and putting down over 40,000 tonnes of new ballast to support the tracks."