M25 reopens eight hours ahead of scheduleon March 18, 2024 at 7:27 am

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The unprecedented daytime closure had closed one of the country’s busiest stretches of motorway.

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Work on a stretch of the M25 has finished with the road being reopened eight hours ahead of schedule – before Monday’s rush hour.

The “unprecedented” daytime closure of one of the country’s busiest stretches came into force at 21:00 GMT on Friday.

The five-mile stretch was due to be closed until 06:00 on Monday.

But just after 22:00 on Sunday National Highways South-East said the road was open in both directions following the demolition of the Clearmount bridge.

Drivers had been warned to avoid travelling on this section of the motorway over the weekend and there had been fears that there would be large tailbacks and long wait times.

But National Highways project lead Jonathan Wade said drivers had “taken on board our advice, which reduced traffic levels by over 50% and meant the length of time added to journeys was around 30 minutes.”

He added that he was “delighted” the work had been completed early.

“Thank you to everyone for their cooperation that has made carrying out work on this major project to make journeys safer and reduce pollution much easier.”

National Highways said this was the first of five closures between now and September and the date of the next would be announced “very soon to give people as much notice as possible”. The works are part of a £317m upgrade to the motorway.

Carriageway closures happened along and between junctions 10 and 11. People were told ahead of the weekend to only use the M25 if “absolutely necessary”.

The carriageway between junctions 9 and 11 carries between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles per hour in each direction between 10:00 and 21:00 on a weekend, National Highways said.

This weekend’s works led to the first planned daytime closure of the M25 – which encircles London – since it opened in 1986.

An 11.5-mile diversion route was created to direct traffic along A roads; while some locals visited the empty motorway to take selfies.

Amanda Boote, of Woking Borough Council, told PA news agency: “It’s actually been a lot better than we expected, it’s not gridlocked in the way that we thought it would be.

“It was built up a bit, but no different to how it might normally be. Actually residents are quite happy, they’ve been sleeping well because it’s so quiet overnight.”

Four more daytime closures of the M25 will take place up to September.

The project, due to be completed in summer 2025, will increase the number of lanes at junction 10, which is one of the UK’s busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions.

Map showing closed section of M25 and the detour route
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