M25 near Heathrow and Gatwick to close over weekend

An aerial view of junction 10 of the M25 on during the first full weekend closure in March
Junction 10 of the M25 shown during the first full weekend closure in March - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Holidaymakers have been warned to leave extra time on their way to Heathrow and Gatwick airports this weekend because of the third full weekend closure of the M25.

Those travelling to or from London’s busiest air hubs are being urged to “plan ahead”, with part of the motorway set to close between Friday night and the early hours of Monday morning.

Among those affected will be people travelling to, from and between Heathrow and Gatwick.

A spokesman for London Gatwick said: “Passengers driving to the airport are advised to check diversion routes before they travel and allow extra time for potential delays.

“Gatwick’s train station is well connected and is a great alternative option for people travelling to the airport this weekend.”

The RAC is advising motorists to travel earlier than usual if their journeys will be affected by National Highways shutting the motorway between junctions 10 and 11 in Surrey from 9pm on Friday to 6am on Monday.

This will be the third of five weekend closures of the motorway as part of a £317 million project to improve junction 10 by widening the road and building new bridges across it.

Motorway vehicles will be directed along a diversion route on A roads, avoiding the 10-mile stretch that is closed.

Music and football fans also face travel delays

The closure could also disrupt the journeys of music fans heading to and from London for festivals such as Wireless and British Summer Time, and football supporters travelling to watch the final of Euro 2024 with friends or at public screenings.

Alice Simpson, a spokesman for the RAC, said: “Following two successful M25 closures with no significant delays, there’s no reason why this weekend can’t go smoothly too, providing drivers plan their journeys well in advance and follow the official diversion routes.

“While anyone attending a festival in the city centre is likely to have an easier journey by train and Tube, there are of course trips, such as going to the airport, where it’s far easier to travel by car, especially if you’re loaded with luggage.

“We’re asking holidaymakers to ensure they plan ahead, which means checking their route before they set off, leaving even earlier than usual and, importantly, making sure their vehicles are road ready by checking the oil, coolant and tyres to give themselves the best chance of avoiding a breakdown.”

Chris Wood, the AA Patrol of the Year, added: “We advise drivers to plan their journey accordingly, avoiding the west side of the M25 if possible, but if not to expect delays and stick to the detour routes.”

Successful previous closures

There were fears of severe congestion on diversion routes ahead of the first two closures in March and May, but many drivers followed advice to avoid the area, meaning long hold-ups were avoided.

Jonathan Wade, the senior project manager for National Highways, said: “The previous two closures have gone well, with significant progress being made during both.

“We would urge all drivers to follow the official diversion route as this is the best chance of reaching your destination in good time.

“Please ignore your satnavs and follow our diversion route instead.”

National Highways is concerned that satnavs could direct some drivers on to minor roads after leaving the M25, creating gridlock in residential areas.

Shutting the motorway this weekend will enable the construction of a new bridge near junction 10.

The March closure was the first planned daytime shutdown of the M25 since it opened in 1986.

Between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles normally use the M25 between junctions 9 and 11 in each direction every hour from 10am until 9pm at weekends.

The final two weekend closures as part of the project will take place later this year. No dates have yet been confirmed.