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M25 closures: Dates and alternative routes for Gatwick and Heathrow

Simon Calder’s Travel

“Stay home weekend”: that is the appropriate slogan between 15 and 18 March for motorists who normally use the southwest quadrant of the M25 motorway.

From 9pm on Friday 15 March to 6am on Monday 18 March 2024, National Highways is to shut the M25 in both directions between junctions 10 and 11. These are key intersections on the southwest quadrant of the motorway. Junction 10 is where the M25 meets the A3 to Guildford and Portsmouth, with many motorists also accessing Chessington World of Adventure. Junction 11 serves the key link of the A320 between Staines and Woking, as well as the A317 to Weybridge.

National Highways says the closure is “to demolish the Clearmount bridleway bridge and install a very large gantry”. It says: “Without a full closure of the M25 at this junction, it would be impossible to safely demolish the overbridges and install the new gantry.”

Normally around 5,000 vehicles a day would use the M25 between those junctions.

The organisation has prescribed a diversionary route that more than doubles the five-mile distance between the two junctions. National Highways is warning “only travel is necessary”.

Travellers accessing Heathrow and Gatwick airports will be affected, as will many motorists heading for Channel crossings in Kent.

How bad will it be? These are the key questions and answers.

Why is the M25 closed?

National Highways says it is part of a “major project to make journeys safer and reduce pollution”.

The organisation says: “The Junction 10 improvement scheme will see an increase in the number of lanes to make journeys safer and improve traffic flow. It will also make it easier and safer to enter and exit the M25.

“It will also reduce the pollution caused by traffic jams.”

Has this occured before?

No. The final link in the M25 motorway around London – between London Colney and South Mimms – was opened to traffic by then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher at 9.30am on 29 October 1986.

Since then accidents, congestion and roadworks have caused countless problems. Yet never has a crucial stretch of one of Europe’s busiest motorways been completely closed for a weekend.

This will be the first of five closures between now and September 2024.

What’s the advice for drivers?

Jonathan Wade, National Highways Project Lead, says: “Drivers should only use the M25 if their journey is absolutely…

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