Bank Holiday traffic chaos warning as 22 million cars expected to clog roads

Drivers are being warned to expect traffic chaos this Bank Holiday weekend, with millions of people likely to hit the roads.

Some 22 million drivers will go on leisure trips this weekend, over eight million more than last year, according to an RAC survey.

The breakdown recovery company has warned of 'extensive' traffic jams on major roads between Friday and Monday.

There is also expected to be disruption on the nation's railways, due to the closure of the West Coast line.

Hot weather is thought to be one of the reasons behind the boom in weekend getaways, with people flocking to tourist destinations across the country.

Experts predict the roads will be busiest on Saturday when over 6.6 million trips are due to take place, compared with 5.6 million on Monday and 5.3 million on Friday.

Holidaymakers will also be rushing to airports over the weekend, with Friday expected to become the busiest day for flights in the history of the UK, according to air traffic control organisation NATS.

The Met Office forecasts sunshine for Saturday, mixed weather for Sunday and sunny spells for Monday.

Chris Bulmer, the Met Office's deputy chief meteorologist, said: “This upcoming Bank Holiday weekend will start off fine and warm with sunny spells in the south, but for northern parts of the UK it’ll be cooler, cloudier and breezy with some rain at times.

“At the moment Saturday looks to be one of the better days of the weekend with the promise of sunshine for most, whereas Sunday will be cloudier with outbreaks of rain moving in from the west.

"By Monday this rain and cloud should clear with a return to sunny spells and the odd shower in places, feeling cooler across the country in the fresh westerly breeze.”

The nation's major motorways and highways are expected to suffer worst of all as a result of the expected weekend getaway journeys, although Highways England has taken measures to reduce congestion.

It is moving more than 700 miles of roadworks ahead of the weekend, meaning that 97 per cent of motorways and major A roads will be free from cones.

In addition to congested roads, disruption is expected on the country's rail system, with the popular West Coast main line closing for engineering work this weekend.

The line is Europe's busiest and Network Rail said it needs to replace or repair sections of track, overhead cables, bridges, tunnels and equipment on the route between London Euston and Cumbria.

Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route, said:   “We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work.

"Bank holidays are the least disruptive time to do it, when fewer passengers use the railway compared to the working week.

"That way we can do the maximum amount of work while impacting the fewest people. Sometimes a closure is the only way we can carry out major work like replacing track or improvements to overhead electric lines.

“Train companies and Network Rail have worked together to minimise disruption for customers by doing a lot of work over the recent bank holidays. The alternative would have been closing the line over multiple weekends throughout the summer.”

The closure is expected to create extra traffic on the roads and busier trains.

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