The M25 motorway reopens eight hours earlier than scheduled

Work on a stretch of the M25 motorway has ended with the road reopening eight hours ahead of schedule – before rush hour on Monday.

The “unprecedented” daytime lockdown of one of the country's busiest areas went into effect at 21:00 GMT on Friday.

The five-mile road was scheduled to be closed until 06:00 on Monday.

But after 22:00 on Sunday, South Eastern National Highways said the road was open in both directions after the demolition of the Claremount Bridge.

Drivers have been warned to avoid traveling on this section of the motorway over the weekend, and there were fears of major traffic jams and long waiting times.

But National Highways Project head Jonathan Wade said drivers had “taken our advice, which has reduced traffic levels by more than 50% and meant the extra journey time was around 30 minutes”.

He added that he was “delighted” to complete the work early.

“Thank you to everyone for your cooperation which has made carrying out the work on this major project to make trips safer and reduce pollution much easier.”

National Highways said this is the first of five closures between now and September, and the next closure date will be announced “very soon to give people as much notice as possible”. The works are part of a £317m motorway upgrade.

National Highways said the road between Junctions 9 and 11 carries between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles per hour in each direction between 10:00 and 21:00 on weekends.

This weekend's works have led to the first planned daytime closure of the M25 – which surrounds London – since it opened in 1986.

An 11.5-mile diversion road was created to direct traffic along the A-roads. While some locals visited the empty highway to take selfies.

Amanda Bott, from Woking Borough Council, told the PA news agency: “It's actually been a lot better than we expected, and it's not been as clogged up in the way we thought it would be.”

“It's been built up a bit, but it's no different than it used to be. In fact, the residents are very happy, they've been sleeping well because it's been very quiet all night.”

A further four daytime closures of the M25 will be in place until September.

The project, due for completion in summer 2025, will increase the number of lanes at Junction 10, one of the busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions in the UK.

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