The top congestion hot spot has historically been the M4 with 16% of all Easter traffic using the motorway. The majority of the delays have in the past been reported through Newport and Cardiff. This year, Inrix again predicts the M4 towards the West Country to be the most congested.
Inrix’s traffic data indicates that Friday’s Easter traffic will start from noon and remain steadily busy until 5pm. Saturday traffic will begin to slow from 10am with the most congestion expected at 1pm.
Easter Sunday will be one of the quietest days on the road this weekend. However, for drivers returning home on Easter Monday the delays will start to build around noon, with the longest delay time habitually reported at 5pm.
Drivers on the M4 around the Bristol area will see delay times made worse by the long term improvement works between Junctions 19 and 20, which link to the M5 at J15, Almondsbury Interchange.
Standard weekend traffic through the roadworks area can often see delays of 20 minutes and a queue of two to three miles. The holiday getaway is expected to double these congestion times, with a potential increase of 40 minutes to a journey.
Currently, there are narrow lanes and speed restrictions of 50mph, with the outcome for variable speed limits and the ability to open the hard shoulder as an additional lane during heavy congestion. These are long term works, which the Highways Agency is unable to lift during the bank holiday for safety reasons.
Following the pattern of congestion, the second busiest motorway will be the M1 with 13% of Easter traffic taking to the motorway. Delays are expected in South Yorkshire around J34 at Meadowhall.
However, it is the long term improvement works in Bedfordshire that could see the greater delays. Drivers should expect congestion between J10 Luton Airport and J13 Bedford, where there is a contraflow and speed restriction of 50mph in place.
These works often add 20 minutes to the usual travel time during a rush hour, so there is potential for long delays heading to the airport and for traffic using the M1 as a north to south route.
Another key north to south route is the M6, with 12% of traffic using the motorway at Easter. Thrill seekers heading to Alton Towers could see delays between J14 and J15, but the particular hot spot for congestion is between J32, which is the turning for the M55 towards Blackpool, to J37 Sedbergh in Cumbria as motorists head to the Lake District. There are no roadworks in these areas, however, which is good news for drivers this bank holiday.
Equally, 12% of Easter traffic uses the M25 and Inrix predict delays within the Surrey and Hertfordshire branches. Traffic travelling between J11-14 will be slow as drivers make their way towards Thorpe Park and Heathrow Airport.
Traffic may be worse clockwise because of the roadworks between J9 Leatherhead and J10 A3, where the Highways Agency is building the new Cobham service station. Further along the M25 at J21a – J23 near St Albans there are narrow lanes and a 50mph speed limit as major widening works continue.
Motorists in Scotland have seen 10% of Easter traffic using the M8. This Easter, Inrix predict particularly slow traffic in Renfrewshire because of the essential strengthening and improvement works on the White Cart Viaduct.
One lane is closed both ways between J27 Arkleston and J28 Glasgow Airport, with further closures on the entry slip roads at J27, J28 and J29 St James. Average delays during rush hour have been around 20 minutes on this principal route to the airport.
However, traffic has been especially slow coming from Paisley on the A737 where the road meets with the M8, with delays of up to 40 minutes.
Traffic travelling through Glasgow City may see additional delays with new roadworks at the Clyde Tunnel, which commence on 31st March 2012. Traffic through the tunnel will be restricted to one lane each way from Moss Road to the City Centre, and will be unable to exit the southbound tunnel at Govan Road.
Drivers making long distance journeys this Easter break may be concerned about the strike action by petrol tanker drivers. Should this go ahead over the Easter period, there are assurances that Army soldiers will be trained to stand in for tanker drivers instead. However, it is unlikely to affect motorists’ attitudes to long journeys.
Motorists can tune in to their local radio stations for traffic information powered by Inrix or download the free Inrix mobile phone app. With its real time alerts and information about accidents and events along your route, the Inrix mobile app helps drivers avoid traffic and get to their destination faster.