Drivers warned of holiday jams

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The Independent Online

Britons were braced for a cool and showery bank holiday weekend, with jams on the roads and the inevitable engineering work on parts of the railway.

After many days of dry weather, forecasters predicted that the weekend will have showers, with winds getting stronger on Sunday, particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Motoring groups predicted that the traffic build-up will begin around lunchtime tomorrow.

Saturday is also expected to be a busy day on the roads, with many attending sporting events and music festivals.

There is likely to be heavy traffic in north and south London on Saturday with the Manchester United-Barcelona Champions League football final taking place at Wembley and the Aviva Premiership Rugby final being held at Twickenham.

The AA predicted that 15 million cars will be on the road over the holiday period, with routes to south west England and coastal resorts among the busiest.

The Highways Agency said it had suspended or completed 107 miles of roadworks on England's motorways and major A roads.

Restrictions will be lifted at 20 sites from 6am on Friday until midnight on Monday.

Among sites where roadworks will be staying in place for safety reasons are the M1 junction two to four just north of London where repairs are continuing following the under-viaduct fire which led to serious disruption last month.

Various M25 roadworks will also remain, as will a 3.5 mile stretch of the M4 near Newbury in Berkshire where moderate delays are expected.

Engineering work will affect a number of mainline train services over the weekend, but the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said 8% more trains would operate than during the spring bank holiday weekend last year.

Some of the planned Network Rail (NR) work on the West Coast Main Line will not be going ahead to keep Anglo-Scottish services running.

Atoc predicted that more than five million passengers would travel by train over the weekend.

Extra train services are being laid on to Southend-on-Sea in Essex for the annual airshow.

Officials at the Port of Dover in Kent said they expected 500,000 passengers and 110,000 cars to travel to the Continent during half-term week.

They said their busiest day will be this Saturday, when around 62,000 passengers and 13,000 cars will use the port, equating to 43 passengers a minute.

MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said there would be "variable cloud" on Friday with rain and drizzle in places.

Saturday was likely to be rainy and drizzly as well, while there would be scattered showers on Sunday with strong winds in Scotland and Northern Ireland where the showers could be heavy in places.