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Christmas traffic: Worst roads for congestion revealed

Rush hour traffic

The A34 in Hampshire, between the A33 and M3, is expected to have the worst traffic jams during the festive period this year, according to new research.

Analysis of ONS data, from HGV recruitment and training specialists Driver Hire, has looked at road congestion data from 2017-2020 to reveal which of the UK’s major routes typically see drivers spending the most time stuck in delays.

The company also looked at planned road works listed on One Network between now and the end of the year, around the most congested areas, to see which roads could potentially face more delays than they do on average.

While the A34 is expected to have the highest delays, on average, it’s closely followed by Junction 1 of the M4, in Houndslow.

An estimated 27 million trips by car to see friends and family between December 17 and Christmas Eve are being predicted, with it expected to be the busiest getaway on the roads in five years

Analysis by RAC and Inrix suggests there will be an extended getaway in the run-up to Christmas, with an average of 4.1m such journeys taking place every day next week, culminating in most leisure journeys by car – some 5.3m – taking place on Christmas Eve.

Richard Owen-Hughes, Driver Hire’s group marketing director, said: “Over nearly 40 years in the industry we’ve learned that the Christmas period is always the busiest period of the year for logistics. This year the economy is booming, and it looks more likely that we’ll be able to drive home to spend time with friends and family this Christmas. So we wanted to see which roads typically face the most congestion and are best avoided where possible.

“It’s maybe not surprising to see where some of the hotspots are – around London, the South Coast, the West Midlands and in the Northwest. We are sure people living in these areas are more than familiar with slow journeys on these roads. Still, we hope people find this research useful in planning their journeys this festive season.”

The Top 20 Most Congested Roads to avoid this Christmas:

Local Authority

Road Number

Road Name

Average Delay (seconds per vehicle per mile) 2017-2020

Planned roadworks around the area

Hampshire

A34

A34 southbound between A33 and M3/A272

70.675

Yes

Hounslow

M4

M4 westbound within J1

70.075

Yes

Hounslow

M4

M4 westbound within J2

69.95

Yes

Kent

M25

A282 northbound between A296/A225 and A206

68.75

Yes

West Sussex

A27

A27 eastbound between A24 near Worthing (west) and A24 near Worthing (east)

67.575

Yes

Tameside

M67

M67 westbound between J1A and J1

66.7

No

Tameside

M67

M67 westbound between A57 and J1

66.375

No

Kent

M25

A282 northbound within the A206 junction

63.2

Yes

West Sussex

A27

A27 westbound between B2144 and A259 near Chichester (east)

60.7

Yes

West Sussex

A27

A27 westbound between A285 near Chichester (west) and B2144

58.975

Yes

Tameside

A57

A57 westbound between A628 and A6018

57.95

Yes

Coventry

A45

A45 westbound between A423 and A46 near Coventry (east)

56.1

Yes

Warwickshire

A45

A45 westbound between A423 and A46 near Coventry (east)

55.9

Yes

Hertfordshire

A404(M)

A404(M) southbound between J9A and J9

55.85

No

Windsor and Maidenhead

A404(M)

A404(M) southbound within J9A

54.875

No

Sandwell

M5

M5 northbound within J2

52.4

Yes

Slough

M25

M25 clockwise within J15

52.2

Yes

Sefton

A5036

A5036 northbound between A5207 and M57/M58

52.125

No

Sandwell

M5

M5 southbound within J1

51.975

Yes

Trafford

M60

M60 clockwise within J10

51.9

Yes


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