THE A303 could see delays this week as the big Easter getaway begins.
Drivers are set to embark on up to 17 million leisure trips by car this Easter bank holiday, with Good Friday and Easter Sunday set to see the largest number of journeys made.
Research by the RAC and data from transport analytics experts INRIX show there’s every chance Good Friday could turn out to be a ‘bad’ Friday for drivers.
With an estimated 2.7 million ‘getaway’ trips expected that day, major roads in the south west of England and through some of the home counties are most likely to experience the longest delays.
In the south west, the A303 westbound near Stonehenge and the M5 south between Bristol and Bridgwater are predicted to see double the usual amount of journeys, causing potential traffic problems.
Elsewhere, the M25 anticlockwise between Hertfordshire and Surrey is set to see a major increase in journeys.
Easter Sunday is forecast to see a similar number of leisure journeys being made by drivers (2.7m), with Easter Saturday and Easter Monday only slightly less busy with 2.3m separate trips each, the data suggests.
However, National Highways has said it will be lifting around 1,400 miles of roadworks from Thursday to help alleviate the queues.
RAC Breakdown spokesperson, Rod Dennis, said: “With many people keen to make the most of the double bank holiday this Easter weekend, we’re expecting the customary jams across parts of the road network to make this Good Friday a bad Friday for drivers, especially those who are planning on covering longer distances.
“Traffic volumes could be even higher if the sun chooses to make a welcome appearance.
“The south and west of the UK are the areas to watch as they’re home to some vital roads responsible for carrying vast numbers of people to the holiday destinations of the West Country – so our advice to anyone heading that way is to get on the road as early as possible on Good Friday, or travel on a different day entirely.
“Our patrols will be working incredibly hard over the whole Easter period, but many of the jobs they’ll attend could have been avoided if drivers had only given their cars a bit of TLC before setting out.”
Bob Pishue, INRIX transportation analyst, said: “We expect a large jump in holiday driving with most congestion occurring on major roads around urban areas and popular destinations.
“Nationwide, we anticipate travel times during the holiday weekend to increase about 25% compared to normal. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”