How to avoid the travel chaos caused by the M25 closure - alternative routes explained

15 March 2024, 11:22 | Updated: 15 March 2024, 11:30

National Highways has issued advice to drivers still planning to travel.
National Highways has issued advice to drivers still planning to travel. Picture: Alamy/PA

By Jenny Medlicott

The UK’s busiest road will shut this weekend for the first time - here’s how to avoid traffic chaos for drivers who still plan to travel.

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The M25 is to shut between junctions 10 (A3 Wisley) and 11 (A320 Chertsey Interchange) in Surrey from 9pm Friday 15 to 6am Monday 18 March.

Drivers have been warned only to travel if necessary as the closure is expected to cause heavy congestion.

But those who still need to travel have been given one piece of advice: don’t use a sat-nav in the diversion area.

Drivers should only follow the official diversions when travelling around the closed-off area, which will add an hour to the usual time, National Highways has said.

The diversions will send drivers heading in both directions on an 11.5 mile diversion through Surrey.

It is feared if motorists ignore the advice and use a sat-nav that the surrounding country lanes in rural Surrey could be gridlocked.

National Highways senior project manager Daniel Kittredge added: “If people move away from diversion routes that we prescribe, it creates additional issues in different parts of the road network.

“The majority of the time that will be local roads, so that really impacts residents in those particular areas.”

Read more: ‘Decorate the bathroom or something’ National Highways boss tells drivers ahead of first ever M25 closure

Read more: Exact time M25 will shut down for 57 hours as drivers warned to stay away during closures on UK's busiest motorway

Drivers should follow the official diversions to prevent further congestion.
Drivers should follow the official diversions to prevent further congestion. Picture: PA

“That's why we're trying to encourage people to not follow the sat-nav.

“Stick on the prescribed diversion route. It's going to be more suitable for your journey.”

National Highways has also advised people to consider driving around the M25 to avoid the closure.

Those heading clockwise — north towards Heathrow — will leave at junction 10 and follow the northbound A3 to the Painshill junction, the A245 towards Woking and then the A320 to junction 11 of the M25.

Drivers heading anti-clockwise — south towards Gatwick — will leave at junction 11 and follow the A320 south towards Woking, the A245 towards Byfleet and the Painshill junction, and the A3 southbound to junction 10 of the M25.

National Highways said those travelling to and from Gatwick and Heathrow airports and Channel ports may be affected.

Drivers have been advised to avoid peak times and those heading to Heathrow or Gatwick should allow for plenty of extra time when travelling, while others have been advised to avoid peak times.

National Highways has urged concertgoers, sports fans and holidaymakers travelling to London and surrounding areas to plan journeys in advance and allow extra time or make alternative travel arrangements.

This is the first of five closures between now and September.

Jonathan Wade, the project leader at National Highways, said how well the surrounding area copes with the closure will largely depend on whether drivers stick to official diversions.

He said: “How many people are going to take the initiative and try and use sat-navs?

“There’s probably a greater risk of congestion by people just doing their own thing and thinking they can perhaps beat the signs and find a shorter or quicker route.

“That will cause further congestion on some of the key junctions, so please avoid doing that if at all possible.”

Disruption is expected along other parts of the M25 due to the J10-11 partial closure. Picture: Getty

The closure is to allow the demolition of a bridleway bridge and installation of a large gantry.

National Highways said the improvement scheme will lead to an increase in the number of lanes to "make journeys safer and improve traffic flow".

They added it will make it easier and safer to enter and exit the M25, provide safer entry roads for Wisley, Pyrford, Old Byfleet and RHS Wisley. They said it will also reduce the pollution caused by traffic jams.

Jonathan Wade, project lead, said: “Drivers should only use the M25 if their journey is absolutely necessary.

"This is the first of five full closures of one of the busiest junctions on our road network.

“We have spent months planning for these closures and making sure there are diversion routes in place, but there will still be heavy congestion and delays," he added.

The next full closure of the M25 is due to take place in April.

M25 Diversion Route
Route of diversion planned for M25 closure between junctions ten and eleven. Picture: Google Images

Diversion routes

Junction 10 - Junction 11: North bound A3 to Painshill Junction, A245 towards Woking, and then A320 to M25 Junction 11

Junction 11 - Junction 10: A320 south towards Woking, A245 towards Byfleet and Painshill junction, Southbound A3 to Junction 10

Taking the M25 in the other direction to avoid the closure is also an option.

Getting to and from Gatwick or Heathrow by rail


Gatwick Express provides a non-stop service direct to London Victoria.

Thameslink connects London Bridge, London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International, as well as Brighton on the south coast.

Great Western Railway trains run between London Gatwick and Reading via Redhill, Reigate and Guildford.

Southern provides services from London Victoria, Clapham Junction, Brighton, Horsham, Southampton, Eastbourne and Portsmouth, ​and​ more.


Heathrow Express provides a non-stop service to London Paddington.

Elizabeth Line links passengers going to Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 from Central London, East London, Essex and Reading.

Piccadilly Line links passengers going to Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5 from various locations in London.

Bus and coach travel is also available to and from Gatwick and Heathrow.

No industrial action is planned on the dates of the partial M25 closure.