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M25 reopens ahead of schedule after three days of disruption

The five-mile stretch of the M25 between junctions 10 and 11 reopened eight hours ahead of schedule.

Just after 10pm on Sunday National Highways SouthEast said on X, formerly Twitter: “The weekend closure of the M25 J10-J11 is now open in both directions, eight hours ahead of schedule.

“The closure was to demolish a bridge and install a huge gantry.

“We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone for your patience and following our travel advice.”

Drivers have faced more disruption on the third day of the M25 closure with tailbacks reported up to three miles.

The five-mile stretch of the motorway between junctions 10 and 11 was closed in both directions at 9pm on Friday and was not due to re-open until 6am on Monday while a bridge was demolished and a new gantry installed.

Two Byfleet residents take a selfie at the car-less M25 (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Two Byfleet residents take a selfie at the car-less M25 (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

While there were long queues on Saturday, Surrey locals reported the knock on effects were not as severe as anticipated.

The stretch connects Heathrow Airport to the south of England, with aerial pictures capturing the road with no traffic in the first planned daytime shutdown since 1986 and some locals visited the empty motorway to take selfies.The road will close again in April and three more times during the busy summer months.

Traffic data from Inrix showed queues on Sunday of around 5km (three miles) stretching back from junction ten.

Traffic congested near Byfleet (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Traffic congested near Byfleet (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

National Highways continued to urge motorists to only use the M25 and diversions if the journey is necessary.

“This will help us to prevent further congestion,” a tweet said.

Drivers were also warned to “avoid” the main diversion route neat Byfleet.

Concerns had been raised thousands of drivers would be stuck in gridlocked traffic over the weekend during the unprecedented closure on the south-west of the orbital route, with one councillor calling it a “nightmare”.

Congestion stretched for two miles on Saturday morning, according to National Highways South-East (NHSE), and the estimated average journey time through the diversion route was 25 minutes but Amanda Boote, of Woking Borough Council, told the PA news agency traffic along the new route through the towns of Byfleet, West Byfleet, Woking and Ottershaw was not as bad as feared.

The gantry being installed on the M25 (National Highways)
The gantry being installed on the M25 (National Highways)

An 11.5-mile diversion route has been created to direct traffic along A roads.

The road normally carries between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles in each direction every hour from 10am until 9pm at weekends between junctions nine and 11.

This includes many airline passengers travelling to, from and between the UK’s two busiest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.

Four more daytime closures of will take place up to September.

The project, due to be completed in summer 2025, will increase the number of lanes at junction 10, which is one of the UK’s busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions.