This weekend’s Easter getaway could be the busiest on the UK’s roads in at least eight years as engineering works look set to disrupt rail travel, the RAC has said.
An estimated 21.5 million leisure trips will be made by car between Good Friday and Easter Monday, the motoring organisation predicts. That is the most since the organisation began tracking motorists’ Easter plans in 2014.
The busiest single day on the roads over the bank holiday weekend is expected to be Good Friday.
The west coast railway line will be shut throughout the Easter weekend between London Euston and Milton Keynes Central due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work, posing a headache for Liverpool and Manchester City fans travelling down for the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
Customers planning journeys between Euston and Scotland are advised to travel either side of the long weekend.
On the roads, the traffic information provider Inrix highlighted several likely congestion hotspots. These include:
Drivers wanting to avoid as much congestion as possible are urged to set off before 9am or delay their journeys until after 7.30pm.
The RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads, our research suggests a return to traffic levels that are much more typical of this time of year. It’s very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years.
“Add in the impact of disruption on the rail network and one of the biggest fixtures of the sporting calendar taking place this weekend, and you have all the ingredients needed for problems on the roads. Traffic volumes will likely be even higher if some warm spring sunshine makes an appearance.”
In addition to traffic jams motorists also face the most expensive Easter on record when it comes to fuel prices. Latest government figures show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on 4 April was 161.9p, with diesel at 176p.
Some petrol stations in parts of the south and Midlands have been experiencing fuel shortages after the clean energy campaign group Just Stop Oil blockaded oil terminals.
Disruption is also expected across other modes of transport over the Easter weekend. Several airlines and airports are struggling to cope with staff sickness and shortages, with thousands of flights cancelled by easyJet and British Airways in recent weeks. Manchester airport is advising departing passengers to expect delays of up to 90 minutes.
Large traffic queues are likely to continue on roads in Kent due to a shortage of cross-Channel sailings caused by the suspension of operations by P&O Ferries after it sacked nearly 800 workers. The company hopes to resume services this week pending regulatory approval.