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M25 closure – live: Traffic building along five-mile stretch as ‘good progress’ made on bridge works

(AFP via Getty Images)

Good progress has been made on the M25 in Surrey where engineers are demolishing a bridge, National Highways has said, as traffic queues built up again on Sunday morning in the lead-up to the closure.

A five-mile stretch between junctions 10 and 11 has been shut in both directions since 9pm on Friday and won’t reopen until 6am on Monday.

It comes after drivers were warned to stay at home as the unprecedented closure of the motorway was expected to cause a “carmageddon” of gridlock traffic this weekend.

“We made good progress during the first night of the M25 J10 to J11 weekend closure,” National Highways said on Saturday.

“We will again work throughout the night to continue the demolition and gantry installations. There are minimal delays in the area at this time.”

It is the first planned daytime closure of the motorway – which encircles London – since it opened in 1986. National Highways said its modelling indicated vehicles would face delays of up to five hours without mitigation measures, such as urging drivers to stay away.

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Average of 100 vehicles per minute typically fly past Byfleet on M25

Byfleet and West Byfleet became estranged in the early 1980s. What came between them was an 80-yard-wide cutting carrying six lanes of traffic – later “densified” to eight lanes. Over a normal weekend, every minute an average of 100 cars, lorries and buses barrel through this deep divide.

Ten miles to the north: Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow; 20 miles southeast, the UK’s main holiday airport, Gatwick. And wherever you want to go in Britain, if you can’t access it from a motorway or A-road junction on the M25, it’s probably not worth going.

Since Margaret Thatcher opened the full circuit in 1986, the M25 has become one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure in Europe. For the first time, a daytime closure is taking place. A stretch of the motorway southwest of London is shut for the weekend, until 6am on Monday.

The aim: to improve Junction 10, where the M25 meets the A3 trunk road linking London with Guildford and Portsmouth (not to mention Chessington World of Adventures). The only way to do this is to close the entire five-mile stretch to Junction 11:

Simon Calder, Travel Correspondent17 March 2024 12:00

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Only minor traffic queues in run-up to diversion this morning

Traffic cameras appear to show little traffic on the approaches to Junctions 10 and 11, where the diversion is in force.

The Evening Standard had reported an hour ago that Inrix data suggested around 2km of traffic had been building to the north of the road closure at Junction 11, near Chertsey.

A closed section of the M25 between Junctions 10 and 11

(Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Andy Gregory17 March 2024 10:57

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How the M25 became a tourist attraction

Our travel correspondent Simon Calder reports:

“By Byfleet station we emerged from the pine trees, and found the country calm and peaceful under the morning sunlight.”

I recalled that line – from H G Wells’s War of the Worlds – at West Byfleet station in Surrey as I emerged from the first train of the morning from London on Saturday.

In this leafy corner of the home counties, all was “calm and peaceful under the morning sunlight” – until the first Bulgarian truck came thundering through. The lorry had been diverted from its planned trajectory by the unprecedented closure of a stretch of the M25 orbital motorway around London. And the A245 between Byfleet and West Byfleet has become part of a diversionary route – as well, I was to discover, as a temporary tourist attraction:

Andy Gregory17 March 2024 10:04

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Traffic along diversion not as bad as feared, councillor says

Amanda Boote, of Woking Borough Council, has told the PA news agency that traffic along the diversion route through the towns of Byfleet, West Byfleet, Woking and Ottershaw was not as bad as feared.

Congestion stretched for two miles on Saturday morning, according to National Highways South-East, and the estimated average journey time through the 11.5-mile diversion route was 25 minutes.

NHSE said on Saturday it had made good progress during the first night of work.

Andy Gregory17 March 2024 09:14

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Drivers warned to expect delays

Drivers have been warned to expect delays to their journeys throughout the day.

Andy Gregory17 March 2024 08:40

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‘Good progress’ on M25, claims National Highways

Good progress has been made on the M25 in Surrey, where engineers are bringing down a bridge during the motorway’s first ever planned daytime closure.

A five-mile stretch between junctions 10 and 11 has been shut in both directions since 9pm on Friday and won’t reopen until 6am on Monday.

“We made good progress during the first night of the M25 J10 to J11 weekend closure,” NHSE posted on X at 9.05pm on Saturday.

“We will again work throughout the night to continue the demolition and gantry installations. There are minimal delays in the area at this time.”

Alexander Butler17 March 2024 07:43

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In pictures: Travel chaos as stretch of M25 closed until Monday

An information sign as traffic builds up in Cobham, Surrey, near to a closed section of the M25 (Yui Mok/PA)

(PA Wire)

Watch: M25 drone footage shows workers demolishing bridge as motorway remains closed.

(PA)

A view of traffic approaching junction 10 of the M25 in Surrey during a site visit ahead of a planned closure of both carriageways

(Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

Athena Stavrou17 March 2024 07:00

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Watch: Closed M25 drone footage captures workers demolishing bridge

Closed M25 drone footage captures workers demolishing bridge

Athena Stavrou17 March 2024 06:00

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Closed M25 becomes tourist attraction

People have flocked to an unlikely spot to take selfies as they gaze over an eerily quiet M25.

A five-mile stretch of the road has been shut until Monday while a bridge is demolished and a new gantry is installed.

(Yui Mok/PA Wire)

(Yui Mok/PA Wire)

Athena Stavrou17 March 2024 05:00

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Locals fear ‘nightmare’ closure

The first planned daytime closure of the M25 could be a “nightmare”, a councillor fears as local residents and businesses along the diversion route brace for the impact.

Daryl Jordan, of Woking Borough Council, told the PA news agency the Byfleet Road, which is close to junction 10, had been “chock-a-block” on Friday afternoon.

He said residents will be “affected massivel”, adding: “It is pulling people apart. I mean, you know, when you work full-time and then you’re going to get home tonight from work thinking ‘I must fill the fridge up’ and you can’t even get into your own village.

“It’s going to be a nightmare. Just going down the road to get milk is going to be a problem … or picking up your dry cleaning.”

Athena Stavrou17 March 2024 04:00

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