The UK government has confirmed that nearly 800 miles of roadworks will be cleared across the UK in a bid to avoid travel chaos this Christmas.
It comes as the Department for Transport has unveiled its Christmas Travel Plan 2020.
As well as lifting hundreds of miles of roadworks in congestion hotspots, the plan also includes enhancing rail services, postponing and accelerating rail engineering works, and cutting ticket charges to help travellers with their journeys.
The plan was outlined by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the House of Commons yesterday.
The catalyst for the lifting of roadworks is thought to the temporary easing of the government’s regional three tiered approach of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions for five days over Christmas – allowing three households to mix in a bubble and travel to other parts of the country – from 23rd to 27th December.
A total of 778 miles of road works are set to be lifted across the UK.
Although unconfirmed, it is thought this will be targeted at first to congestion hotspots around shopping centres close to motorways – the Trafford Centre being identified as one of which.
Announcing the lifting of road works, Mr Shapps said: “With many people carefully considering whether to travel to see loved ones this Christmas, we’re taking steps to try to ease journeys [and so] clearing 778 miles of roadworks and postponing rail upgrade works will ease congestion, minimise disruption and allow extra services to run.
“Were working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones, safely.
“We ask everyone to closely consider their journey, plan and book ahead, be patient, and be considerate of fellow passengers – and particularly staff who have worked so hard all year – by following the guidance carefully, including keeping space and wearing a face covering on public transport.”
The government has also confirmed it is working with the devolved administrations on plans to ensure it takes an “aligned approach” as far as possible.
The announcement also comes after an AA survey revealed that one in four drivers (24%) are planning a journey by car over the festive period, and with research suggesting there will be 7.9 million motorists on the road this Christmas, compared with around 17 million last year.
Of the 16,500 drivers surveyed in the poll, 48% claimed they were planning a Christmas journey via main roads or motorways on 24th December – indicating Christmas Eve would be the busiest day for road travel.
And the last Saturday before Christmas – 19th December – is expected to be the worst day for shopping traffic.
You can find more information via the gov.uk website here.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.