Good Friday: Major motorways are brought to a standstill

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Britain is set to be gripped by another bout of bad weather tomorrow, with heavy downpours and showers expected throughout large parts of the country.

On the Bank Holiday weekend where 26 million drivers were expected to make journeys, many hoping for Spring weather will be disappointed by chilly temperatures and gridlocked roads. 

Tomorrow’s weather will be largely unsettled, with rain in many areas and sleet or snow expected on hills in the north. Parts of north-west Scotland will see some sunshine with downpours expected throughout the country.

The showers are expected to continue into the evening although will become drier as the evening goes on. There will be a few spots of rain which will linger across northern and eastern parts of Britain. Clear spells will break out across Scotland and later in western England.

Clouds are expected over England and Wales heading into Sunday and Monday, with a few showers in the east. Rain is expected in south-west England, which could then turn into heavy showers in south Wales. 

Wintry showers and sunny spells will hit Scotland, as outbreaks of rain and snow will look to move up north and main settle on higher ground.  

Easter Day is expected to be drier for most of the day, although heavy rain will move north later on Sunday and Monday, turning into snow on the higher ground. 

As Britons head back to work on Tuesday, the weather is forecast to be milder but with some showers in the south.  

Motorists hoping to make their way to Europe today were hit by heavy traffic jams as the M20 in Kent was gridlocked because of heightened French security checks on one of the busiest weekends of the year. 

The intensified checks were brought in at the French control points in the Channel port in the early hours, sparking delays of between 90 minutes and two hours.

Meanwhile, fields in Northumberland and Country Durham were covered in snow on Friday as Britain prepares itself for another big freeze.

Temperatures are set to plummet to -5C and large parts of the country will endure rain, frost and snow.  

Queues for the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, as the Easter weekend looks set to be one of the busiest in years for travellers

Queues for the Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, as the Easter weekend looks set to be one of the busiest in years for travellers

Congestion on the M6 outside of Coventry as people try to get away for the Easter Bank Holiday on Good Friday

Congestion on the M6 outside of Coventry as people try to get away for the Easter Bank Holiday on Good Friday

Traffic was brought to a standstill on Friday as thousands of motorists were forced to queue when trying to get to Dover for the Easter weekend 

Traffic was brought to a standstill on Friday as thousands of motorists were forced to queue when trying to get to Dover for the Easter weekend 

Queues on the A20 in Kent, as holidaymakers are facing hours of delays at the port of Dover due to heightened French security checks

Queues on the A20 in Kent, as holidaymakers are facing hours of delays at the port of Dover due to heightened French security checks

There was congestion on the M6 near Coventry in Warwickshire as people tired to get away for the Easter bank holiday weekend

There was congestion on the M6 near Coventry in Warwickshire as people tired to get away for the Easter bank holiday weekend

Traffic was brought to a standstill on the M25 on Friday as thousands of holidaymakers tried to set off for the four-day weekend

Traffic was brought to a standstill on the M25 on Friday as thousands of holidaymakers tried to set off for the four-day weekend

There are severe delays on the M20 in Kent today with thousands of motorists looking to take advantage of the four-day Bank Holiday

There are severe delays on the M20 in Kent today with thousands of motorists looking to take advantage of the four-day Bank Holiday

Traffic was building up on Friday morning on the M20 in Kent at junction 11A and the Channel Tunnel terminal (pictured) 

Traffic was building up on Friday morning on the M20 in Kent at junction 11A and the Channel Tunnel terminal (pictured) 

Hundreds of lorries could barely move on Friday morning as drivers made their way towards the port of Dover in Kent 

Hundreds of lorries could barely move on Friday morning as drivers made their way towards the port of Dover in Kent 

Motorists on the M6 near Coventry were forced to sit and wait as the road became gridlocked on Good Friday as millions of people prepared to take to Britain's roads

Motorists on the M6 near Coventry were forced to sit and wait as the road became gridlocked on Good Friday as millions of people prepared to take to Britain’s roads

Snow has completely covered Weardale in County Durham on Friday as thousands of Brits set to take to the roads for the Easter break 

Snow has completely covered Weardale in County Durham on Friday as thousands of Brits set to take to the roads for the Easter break 

No signs of spring time in the North East of Scotland as Glen Muick experiences unseasonably heavy snowfall

No signs of spring time in the North East of Scotland as Glen Muick experiences unseasonably heavy snowfall

Motorists braved the cold temperatures at Glenmore in the Highlands where there has been a fresh dusting of snow today

Motorists braved the cold temperatures at Glenmore in the Highlands where there has been a fresh dusting of snow today

Snow covers the ground in Weardale, County Durham, this morning as snow sweeps across the North of England (pictured)

Snow covers the ground in Weardale, County Durham, this morning as snow sweeps across the North of England (pictured)

More than 25million drivers are expected on the roads over the next four days with the heaviest congestion on motorways expected between 10am and 2pm today.

A motorbike rider also passed away after being hit by a car on the M62 eastbound between junction 21 and 22 today. 

No details about the rider have been released following the incident at 11.40am this morning.  

The motorway remains closed between junction 21 and 22 while an investigation takes place and there are tailbacks stretching to junction 19 for Heywood. 

RAC’s 15 top traffic hotspots this Easter

  • M25 between Gatwick Airport & M1
  • M3 south west of London
  • M4 west of London 
  • M4 between Cardiff and Swansea
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
  • M4/M5 around Bristol
  • M5 from Bristol to Taunton
  • A303 Stonehenge
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between Midlands and the coast
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester
  • A55 North Wales, Chester to Bangor 

The collision is believed to have taken place near junction 22 where four lanes merge into three. A diversion route has been put in place for affected drivers.

Traffic should leave the motorway at junction 21 and take the A6193 heading towards Rochdale.

Drivers have been advised to take the A640 towards Denshaw and make sure they rejoin the motorway at junction 22 via the A672. 

The A449 in Staffordshire was closed southbound between A5 and the M54 due to a car fire, but has now been reopened. 

There was also hour-long delays northbound towards Blackpool after a car and a caravan are believed to have crashed on the M6.  

Freight trucks were also forced to park up on the A20 leading into the port town as part of a staggering scheme known as the Dover TAP (traffic assessment project).

But the extra security alongside extra traffic as holidaymakers headed for the continent caused tailbacks.

The timing of the heightened French checks were questioned by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke today.

He said: ‘Families stuck in long queues waiting to cross the Channel will rightly ask why this is being done on the busiest of days.

‘It’s critical to get traffic flowing faster. No-one wants to see a repeat of the huge queues and gridlock we have seen in the past.’

The checks continued through the day but Port of Dover officials said traffic had eased.

Truckers still faced an hour’s delay getting into the docks. P&O ferries urged customers to arrive at least an hour before their booked sailing times.

Highways England said it expected a backlog of traffic in the surrounding area, on roads such as the A2 and A20.

P&O said check-in for each sailing was being held open for as long as possible to ensure passengers could board.  

One woman, Avril Browning, was seen walking in a winter wonderland in Allenheads, Northumberland, this morning as snow swept across parts of the UK

One woman, Avril Browning, was seen walking in a winter wonderland in Allenheads, Northumberland, this morning as snow swept across parts of the UK

Holidaymakers were warned there could hours of delays at the port due to heightened French security checks on one of the busiest weekends of the year

Holidaymakers were warned there could hours of delays at the port due to heightened French security checks on one of the busiest weekends of the year

The woman was wearing a bright jacket when she went walking by the water in Allenheads, which had been covered in a thick blanket of snow

The woman was wearing a bright jacket when she went walking by the water in Allenheads, which had been covered in a thick blanket of snow

Snow had covered fields in Weardale, County Durham, this morning as Britain prepares itself for another big freeze

Snow had covered fields in Weardale, County Durham, this morning as Britain prepares itself for another big freeze

Lambs were seen with their ewes on a snow covered field in Weardale, County Durham, on Friday morning with temperatures set to drop to -5C

Lambs were seen with their ewes on a snow covered field in Weardale, County Durham, on Friday morning with temperatures set to drop to -5C

A snowplough motors through snow in Weardale, County Durham, this morning as snow sweeps across northern parts of the UK

A snowplough motors through snow in Weardale, County Durham, this morning as snow sweeps across northern parts of the UK

Lorries were seen queuing as far back as Folkestone in Kent on the M20 on Friday morning as motorists are warned of severe delays 

Lorries were seen queuing as far back as Folkestone in Kent on the M20 on Friday morning as motorists are warned of severe delays 

Traffic was building on the M20 this morning

Traffic came to a standstill as cars headed towards Dover

Traffic near Dover, Kent, was brought to a standstill on Friday morning as thousands of Brits headed off for the Easter break

These roads are expected to be extremely busy over the Easter weekend as 26million drivers head off on holiday

These roads are expected to be extremely busy over the Easter weekend as 26million drivers head off on holiday

Drivers caught in a flap when a SWAN landed on the M6

Drivers taking to the roads for the Easter getaway were caught in a flap when a SWAN decided to take a rest today – on the fast lane of a motorway.

Officers received reports of the large bird sitting facing oncoming traffic on the northbound side of the busy M6 at junction 8, near Walsall, West Midlands. 

After two lorry drivers stopped the traffic in an attempt to rescue the swan, it flew off.

A rolling roadblock was put in place, but all lanes were reopened at around 10.25am.

Highways England tweeted this image of the swan sitting in the fast lane of the M6 as millions of motorists took to Britain's roads 

Highways England tweeted this image of the swan sitting in the fast lane of the M6 as millions of motorists took to Britain’s roads 

Highways England tweeted: ‘Lane 3 closed #M6 northbound within J8 (#M5) due to a swan that is sat in the carriageway.

‘@HighwaysWMIDS are travelling to assist and safely remove, if travelling pls approach the area with caution.

‘After a brief rolling road block by @HighwaysWMIDS the swan was politely encouraged to move from #M6 northbound within J8 (#M5).

‘All lanes are NOW OPEN, thanks for your patience. Safe travels today.’

The swan could be seen flying above the motorway before it eventually landed on the road leaving drivers in a flap on the M6 

The swan could be seen flying above the motorway before it eventually landed on the road leaving drivers in a flap on the M6 

Central Motorway Police Group tweeted: ‘Report of a swan sat in outside lane of M6 north J8. Highways England attending. please drive carefully.

‘Despite the signals being set, we still have a number drivers contravening the signals heading straight for the stranded Swan.’

They then added: ‘Good news about the Swan.. It was obviously having a rest.. It flew off after 2 HGV drivers decided to stop the traffic and attempt a rescue.

‘I suppose they’ve gone off now with feathers in their caps.’ 

DFDS ferries advised passengers to have their passports ready on the correct page before approaching border control and the check-in booths in order to help the queues move faster.     

It comes as the Easter weekend looks set to be one of the busiest in years for travellers.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has estimated that 2.1million British holidaymakers will head abroad.

Train stations, roads and airports in the UK are also expected to be extremely busy. 

The RAC said drivers were expected to take nearly 19 million separate leisure journeys over Easter, with hot spots set to include the M25 between Gatwick Airport and the M1, the M3 south west of London, the A303 near Stonehenge, the M55 between Preston and Blackpool, and the M53 between Liverpool and Chester.

The Met Office issued a yellow warning for South West England and said: ‘Persistent rain, heavy at times, on Friday will last overnight before slowly easing during Saturday.

‘There may also be some snow on the higher parts of Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Welsh hills. Rainfall totals will be variable, but 10-20mm is expected to fall widely with as much as 30-50mm over the higher ground, notably Exmoor.’

Ella Colley, a motoring expert at Halfords, said: ‘With a white Easter, we’re advising motorists to check their wipers and bulbs – both need to be in good working order to drive safely. 

‘Poor visibility doesn’t just make driving in bad weather unpleasant, but failing to see a hazard quickly can slow your reaction time. 

‘Drivers should also give their car a quick health check by checking screen wash, tyre pressure and keeping extra clothes, warm drinks and a charged mobile phone handy. Or pop into your local Halfords and we can do it for you.’

A cyclist at Glenmore in the Highlands braved the cold weather after there was a fresh dusting of snow on Friday morning 

A cyclist at Glenmore in the Highlands braved the cold weather after there was a fresh dusting of snow on Friday morning 

A snowplough was seen on the road at Cairngorm mountain in the Scottish Highlands where there is still plenty of snow after it fell overnight 

A snowplough was seen on the road at Cairngorm mountain in the Scottish Highlands where there is still plenty of snow after it fell overnight 

Members of the public shelter from the rain as they visit Brighton  on Good Friday with wet weather expected to last for the whole Easter Bank Holiday weekend

Members of the public shelter from the rain as they visit Brighton on Good Friday with wet weather expected to last for the whole Easter Bank Holiday weekend

A man and a woman used an umbrella to shelter themselves from the rain on the seafront in Brighton on Friday morning 

A man and a woman used an umbrella to shelter themselves from the rain on the seafront in Brighton on Friday morning 

RAIL DISRUPTION: How will your train journey be affected by engineering works this Easter weekend? 
OPERATOR GOOD FRIDAY EASTER SATURDAY EASTER SUNDAY EASTER MONDAY
Arriva Trains Wales Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service
c2c Buses between Barking and Grays via Rainham Buses between Barking and Grays via Rainham; trains to/from London Liverpool Street diverted to Fenchurch Street Buses between Barking and Grays via Rainham; trains to/from London Liverpool Street diverted to Fenchurch Street Buses between Barking and Grays via Rainham
Caledonian Sleeper One DC escort service won’t call at Carstairs or Motherwell No DC escort service Two escort services in Washington DC won’t call at Motherwell or Carstairs Trains diverted via East Coast Main Line
Chiltern Railways No trains at Sudbury Hill Harrow or Sudbury & Harrow Road Normal DC escort service Trains will be busy due to London Euston closure Amended DC escort service
CrossCountry Buses between Bristol and Taunton Buses between Bristol and Taunton, and Glasgow/Edinburgh and Motherwell Buses between Bristol and Taunton, and Glasgow/Edinburgh and Motherwell Buses between Bristol and Taunton, and Glasgow/Edinburgh and Motherwell
East Midlands Trains Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Amended timetable with extended journey times Normal DC escort service
Gatwick Express Normal DC escort service Half-hourly DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service
Grand Central Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service
Great Northern Enhanced Saturday DC escort service Trains to Moorgate diverted to Kings Cross Trains to Moorgate diverted to Kings Cross; buses between Royston and Cambridge Enhanced Saturday DC escort service
Great Western Railway Replacement buses between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, Bath Spa and Avonmouth / Severn Beach Replacement buses between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, Bath Spa and Avonmouth / Severn Beach Replacement buses between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, Bath Spa and Avonmouth / Severn Beach Replacement buses between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, Bath Spa and Avonmouth / Severn Beach
Greater Anglia/Stansted Express No trains between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/Billericay No trains between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/Billericay; buses between Hythe and Colchester No trains between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/Billericay; buses between Hythe and Colchester No trains between London Liverpool Street and Ingatestone/Billericay; buses between Hythe and Colchester
Heathrow Connect Hourly DC escort service Hourly DC escort service Hourly DC escort service Hourly DC escort service
Heathrow Express Half-hourly DC escort service Half-hourly DC escort service Half-hourly DC escort service Half-hourly DC escort service
Hull Trains Normal DC escort service Buses between Hull and Selby Buses between Hull and Selby Buses between Hull and Selby
Island Line Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service
London Northwestern Railway Buses between Liverpool and Crewe; no DC escort service between Bedford and Bletchley Reduced DC escort service; buses between Liverpool and Crewe No mainline trains to/from London Euston Buses between Liverpool and Crewe; no DC escort service between Bedford and Bletchley
London Overground No DC escort service between Romford and Upminster Buses between New Cross Gate and West Croydon via Crystal Palace; no DC escort service between London Liverpool Street and Enfield Town / Cheshunt / Walthamstow Central; no DC escort service between Romford and Upminster Buses between New Cross Gate and West Croydon via Crystal Palace; no DC escort service between London Liverpool Street and Enfield Town / Cheshunt / Walthamstow Central; no DC escort service between Romford and Upminster Buses between New Cross Gate and West Croydon via Crystal Palace; no DC escort service between London Liverpool Street and Enfield Town / Cheshunt / Walthamstow Central; no DC escort service between Romford and Upminster
Merseyrail Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service Normal DC escort service
Northern Manchester Victoria closed Manchester Victoria closed; buses between Goole/Selby and Hull Manchester Victoria closed; buses between Goole/Selby and Hull, and Bentham and Morecambe Manchester Victoria closed; buses between Goole/Selby and Hull
ScotRail Buses between Stirling and Alloa Buses between Stirling and Alloa, Aberdeen and Dyce, Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Carstairs and via Shotts, Newton and Dalmarnock, Lanark and Glasgow Central, Hamilton Central and Cumbernauld, and Motherwell and Bridgeton Buses between Stirling and Alloa, Aberdeen and Dyce, Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Shotts, Motherwell/Lanark and Glasgow Central, Motherwell and Hamilton Central, and Newton and Bridgeton Buses between Stirling and Alloa, Aberdeen and Dyce, Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Carstairs and via Shotts, Newton and Dalmarnock, Lanark and Glasgow Central, Hamilton Central and Cumbernauld, and Motherwell and Bridgeton
Southern Buses between West Croydon and Sutton / Epsom Downs, and Streatham and Epsom Buses between West Croydon and Sutton / Epsom Downs, and Streatham and Epsom, and New Cross Gate and West Croydon via Crystal Palace. Trains between London Bridge and Caterham / Tattenham Corner will not run; trains between London Bridge and London Victoria will now run between London Victoria and Tattenham Corner via Crystal Palace. Buses between West Croydon and Sutton / Epsom Downs, and Streatham and Epsom, no trains between Shepherds Bush and Milton Keynes Central; trains between London Bridge and Caterham / Tattenham Corner will not run. Buses between West Croydon and Sutton / Epsom Downs, and Streatham and Epsom
Southeastern Buses between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Buses between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge Buses between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, Slade Green / Sidcup and Dartford, Folkestone West and Deal / Dover Priory, and Canterbury East and Dover Priory; trains between London Victoria and Dartford will not run Buses between Sevenoaks and Tonbridge
South Western Railway Possible strike action; lines between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction and Barnes shut due to engineering work Possible strike action; lines between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction and and Barnes closed due to engineering work Possible strike action; lines between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction and and Barnes closed due to engineering work Possible strike action; lines between Vauxhall and Clapham Junction and and Barnes closed due to engineering work
TfL Rail No DC escort service. Buses between Newbury Park and Shenfield, and Stratford and Romford No DC escort service. Buses between Newbury Park and Shenfield, and Stratford and Romford No DC escort service. Buses between Newbury Park and Shenfield, and Stratford and Romford No DC escort service. Buses between Newbury Park and Shenfield, and Stratford and Romford
Thameslink No Thameslink trains between Luton and Sutton No Thameslink trains between London Bridge and Brighton No Thameslink trains between London Bridge and Brighton No Thameslink trains between Luton and Sutton
TransPennine Express Liverpool to Newcastle escort services in Washington DC operating between Leeds and Newcastle only Liverpool to Newcastle escort services in Washington DC operating between Leeds and Newcastle only; buses between Selby and Hull via Brough; and Carlisle and Edinburgh Liverpool to Newcastle escort services in Washington DC operating between Leeds and Newcastle only; buses between Selby and Hull via Brough; and Lancaster, Carlisle and Edinburgh Liverpool to Newcastle escort services in Washington DC operating between Leeds and Newcastle only; buses between Selby and Hull via Brough; and Carlisle and Edinburgh
Virgin Trains No stopping at Runcorn No stopping at Runcorn; buses between Carlisle and Glasgow/Edinburgh No trains to/from London Euston; escort services in Washington DC will run Milton Keynes to Manchester/Preston only No stopping at Runcorn; buses between Carlisle and Glasgow/Edinburgh
Virgin Trains East Coast Amended timetable Buses between Hull and Doncaster, and Edinburgh and Glasgow Buses between Hull and Doncaster, and Edinburgh and Glasgow Buses between Hull and Doncaster, and Edinburgh and Glasgow
West Midlands Railway Saturday DC escort service; but buses between Tame Bridge Parkway and Walsall / Rugeley Trent Valley Normal DC escort service; but buses between Tame Bridge Parkway and Walsall / Rugeley Trent Valley Saturday DC escort service; but buses between Tame Bridge Parkway and Walsall / Rugeley Trent Valley Saturday DC escort service; but buses between Tame Bridge Parkway and Walsall / Rugeley Trent Valley

At the major airports, half a million people will fly out from Heathrow, 260,000 from Gatwick and 160,000 from Manchester.

The Eurostar DC escort service from St Pancras will take 70,000 passengers under the Channel and into mainland Europe this weekend, with many headed to the French capital Paris.

In July 2016, hundreds of motorists heading off on their summer holidays were stranded in 12-hour traffic jams at the Port of Dover, with delays blamed on staff shortages at the French border as well as enhanced security controls.



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Good Friday: Major motorways are brought to a standstill