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Driving home for Christmas? National Highways lifting and completing roadworks for festive getaway



National Highways will be working round the clock to remove more than 900 miles of roadworks ahead of the festive getaway.

This means nearly 98 per cent of motorways and major A roads will be roadworks-free in time for those travelling to see loved ones or making other journeys for Christmas.

National Highways travel-time data from the past couple of Christmases suggests next Thursday – the day before Christmas Eve – is likely to be one of the busier travel days on England’s major A-road and motorway network in the run up to the festive period.

But as many people take advantage of the holidays to visit friends and family, drivers will be happy to hear traffic levels are not expected to be any higher than usual.

To help keep festive disruption to a minimum, the vast majority of roadworks will be removed from England’s motorway and major A-road network from 6am Tuesday 21 December until 12.01am on Tuesday 4 January.

To make sure Christmas journeys go as planned, National Highways is encouraging drivers to check traffic conditions before they set off and to make sure their vehicle is ready for the journey ahead.

National Highways Customer Service Director, Melanie Clarke said:

“We don’t want roadworks to spoil Christmas so we’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible; that’s why we’re keeping almost 98 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks.

“Our dedicated control room teams and traffic officer patrols are geared up to help those travelling over the Christmas period and we’re expecting Thursday 23 December to be one of the busier days in the lead up to the festive period.

“We know from experience that peak travel times can vary in the run up to Christmas, and so we’re encouraging drivers to check traffic conditions before heading out to help keep traffic flowing.

“And we’re also asking motorists to be prepared before setting off. Almost half of breakdowns can be easily avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before their journeys.”

Before setting off, motorists are encouraged to:

  • Check fuel: Make sure you have enough to get to your destination

  • Check tyres: Check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit

  • Check engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed – take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual

  • Check water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen

  • Check your lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT

Drivers are also being reminded that the M42 will be fully closed between junctions 9 and 10 for HS2 works over the festive period.

HS2 will be carrying out work between junctions 9 (Dunton Interchange) and Junction 10 (Tamworth Interchange) to prepare the ground for movement of the Marston Box bridge in Winter 2022.

Marston Box is the bridge that will carry the HS2 line across the M42 Motorway near Junction 9, north of Lea Marston and Curdworth in North Warwickshire.

To ensure the safety of the workforce, the road will be fully closed from 9pm on Friday 24 December (Christmas Eve) to 9pm on Friday 31 December 2021 (New Year’s Eve).

A diversion route will be in place during the closure.

National Highways has advice about traffic conditions on its website, Twitter feeds, and information line (0300 123 5000).

A series of vehicle checks videos are available to help people carry out basic vehicle checks before they set off on their travels.

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