Motorway traffic reduced to a crawl by great Easter return

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The Independent Online

Up to 17 million motorists returning from Easter holidays made slow progress last night with traffic reduced to a crawl on some motorways.

Up to 17 million motorists returning from Easter holidays made slow progress last night with traffic reduced to a crawl on some motorways.

Motoring organisations reported conditions were particularly bad in the south and south-west. Traffic heading for London from the West Country made going slow on the M5 and the M4, and the M25 was heavily congested as a result of long-term lane closures for construction work.

However the RAC, which estimated that 17 million motorists took to the road over Easter, reported congestion was not as bad as in some previous years. Some holidaymakers had begun their return journeys on Sunday night or early yesterday and others remained away from work for the rest of this week to make the most of the school holidays. it said.

Some of the worst congestion was in urban areas, as motorists flocked to garden centres and DIY stores, it added.

In Sussex two people were killed and two seriously injured in crash on the A272 near Haywards Heath. Two people were killed when their car crashed into a tree near Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Roads came under further strain as engineering works on the railways disrupted services. Affected lines included the South West services from Waterloo to Portsmouth and Salisbury and the West Coast Mainline between Stafford and Rugby for rail replacement. Work is due to end this morning to replace a bridge at Clapham Junction, south London, Britain's busiest rail junction.

The Association of British Travel Agents said a record 2.2 million people travelled abroad over the weekend, with many European ski resorts full and North Africa proving a popular destination. Eurostar coped with its busiest weekend ever, carrying about 150,000 passengers to the Continent.

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