M25 closure over weekend mini-heatwave sparks travel chaos fears...as 'peak' summer holiday shutdown looms

Motorists are facing travel misery this weekend as a 10-mile stretch of the M25 shuts over what is expected to be this year’s warmest spell of weather so far.

A chunk of Britain’s busiest motorway in Surrey will be closed to allow concrete beams for a gyratory bridge and a gantry to be lifted into place.

It is only the second such closure in the M25’s 38-year history, coming two months after a five-mile section was closed bringing severe congestion to the motorway and surrounding roads.A National Highways boss has warned another M25 closure is looming in August.

Congestion during this weekend’s operation is expected to be worsened by the expected mini-heatwave set to spread over southern England following a cool and damp start to Spring.

London is set for temperatures of 24C across Saturday and Sunday, says the Met Office, while some parts of the country are predicted to hit 26C.

But many hoping to escape the capital and hit the beach will have to navigate the latest M25 closure, which will see the London Orbital shut in both directions between junctions 9 (A243 Leatherhead) and 10 (A3 Wisley).

The 10-mile stretch is due to shut from 9pm on Friday (May 10) until 6am on Monday (May 13).

National Highways has urged drivers to only travel in the area “if absolutely necessary”, warning of lengthy detours.

The stretch in Surrey closing this weekend typically carries between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles per hour in each direction during key weekend hours, said National Highways.

Up to 270,000 vehicles pass through the junction that’s being worked on each weekday, making it one of the busiest stretches of road in the UK.

It will be the second of five full weekend closures of the M25 that take place this year, with a further three due between July and the end of the year.

Jonathan Wade, a senior project manager for National Highways, has revealed the next closure of the M25 is planned to take place during the month of August.He told the Telegraph: “The next one is scheduled for August. That's still to be confirmed, but at the moment it's been planned for August. At that time, you're obviously into peak holiday season.”

The 10-mile stretch is due to shut from 9pm on Friday until 6am on Monday (PA Wire)
The 10-mile stretch is due to shut from 9pm on Friday until 6am on Monday (PA Wire)

In March, National Highways made the unprecedented move of closing the M25 between junctions 10 and 11 in March, to demolish a bridge and install a gantry, bringing chaos to nearby roads which were jammed with “chock-a-block” traffic.

The five-mile weekend closure marked the first time since the M25's opening in 1986 that all lanes were scheduled to be closed during the day.

The Met Office predicts temperatures are set to rise throughout the end of the week, reaching 22C on Thursday and 23C on Friday.

By Saturday, cloud is expected to clear making way for a bright and sunny day, and highs of 24C that are due to continue on Sunday.

The cloud is expected to return around Sunday lunchtime, with some rain forecast for the afternoon, before temperatures dip slightly next week.