AA warn drivers to expect chaos over the Easter holidays

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The Easter getaway on the roads is expected to be busier than last year, motoring experts have warned.

An AA poll of more than 24,000 drivers found that 55% intend to make a trip during the bank holiday weekend - up from 47% last Easter.

This could mean 11 million cars taking to the road at some stage this Easter, according to the motoring association.

Maundy Thursday is set to be the busiest day with 55% of drivers planning to take their car out, falling to 50% on Good Friday before creeping up to 53% on Saturday.

The busiest stretches of road are likely to include the M5 south from Almondsbury, Gloucestershire towards Exeter, the M6 north from the West Midlands towardsLancashire and all sections of the M25.

Easter Sunday is usually one of the quietest days of the year on the road. Easter Monday is also expected to be relatively traffic free, although congestion is possible from lunchtime due to home-bound travellers.

Max Holdstock, AA patrol of the year, said: “There will be a lot of pressure on the main getaway routes, particularly heading down to south-west England, and the likes of the M25, M1 and M6 are also going to be very busy.”

He advised motorists who are carrying out their first long-distance car journey of the year to conduct maintenance checks on their vehicle before setting off.

The RAC claimed it was “inevitable” that the popular road arteries will be congested and warned drivers to expect “heavy traffic and jams on major routes”.

Highways England announced that it will complete or suspend more than 450 miles of roadworks on motorways and trunk roads in time for the weekend.

This will leave 97% of routes free of roadworks by 6am on Thursday.

It is also set to be a bumper period for airlines, with British Airways expecting around 2.4 million passengers over the next three weeks.

The busiest day for travel will be Thursday, with some 117,000 customers, and the most popular destination for a short-break is Paris, followed by Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Geneva and Glasgow.

Rail passengers have been advised to check for alterations to their journey because a number of lines will be suspended as Network Rail (NR) carries out more than 450 individual improvement projects.

There will be no Southern or Gatwick Express services from London Victoria due to major work in Battersea.

The West Coast Main Line will be closed around Stafford for a flyover to be opened, meaning many services will be diverted via Stoke with increased journey times.

On the East Coast, one of the two lines south of Peterborough will be closed - meaning changes to services on Easter Saturday and Sunday.

Manchester Victoria will be closed for nine days from Good Friday for remodelling work.

NR chief executive Mark Carne said: “I’m acutely conscious that many people want to use the railway during the Easter holidays, but with fewer people travelling by train over this four-day weekend, it is a good time to undertake these massive improvement projects.

“The vast majority of services will be unaffected by this programme with over 95% of the network open as normal.”

National Express is adding 13,000 extra coach seats to its network over Easter in a bid to cope with increased demand for its services.

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