South Coast Roads 'Twice As Busy' For Easter Getaway
17 April 2014, 08:36 | Updated: 17 April 2014, 19:18
Hampshire and Dorset's roads have been extra-busy as the big Easter getaway starts.
Roads like the M3 and M27 in Hampshire, and A31 and A338 into Dorset, are expected to be among the busiest in the UK on Thursday (17 April).
A combination of more cars, Easter falling later, the good weather and major engineering work on the trains is being blamed.
Traffic information company Trafficmaster and the AA have forecast as many as 16 million cars will be on the move over the holiday, with drivers from Northern Ireland the most likely to get behind the wheel and Scots the least likely to do so.
Another traffic information company, Inrix, has forecast that the worst-affected congestion hotspots in south east and south west England will be twice as busy over Easter as during non-holiday periods.
The company said this Easter's busiest periods will be all day on Thursday, between 10am and 3pm on Good Friday, and between 10am and 4pm on Easter Monday.
Inrix listed the sections of road likely to be the most congested over the holiday. These include the M4 between Hampshire and the West Country, the western section of the M25, the A303 in Wiltshire, the M55 between Preston and Blackpool, and the M4 between London and Reading in Berkshire.
Around 1.6 million Britons are heading abroad over Easter, with those staying at home facing packed roads, disrupted rail journeys and the threat of unsettled weather.
Popular foreign spots for those going overseas include Spain and its islands, Turkey, Tunisia and Florida, according to UK travel organisation Abta.
Top city destinations are Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and New York, while bookings for UK breaks are described by Abta as "healthy''.
Over the Easter weekend, 35,000 passengers are expecting to pass through Southampton Airport and 4,500 through Bournemouth's.
Popular holiday destinations include the Costa Blanca, the Algarve and the Costa del Sol. Other top Easter routes of choice for Southampton passengers include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Belfast and Dublin as travellers choose to visit friends and family around the UK. The Channel Islands also feature high on the list of Southampton destinations, as passengers head off in search of spring sunshine.
Jan Halliday, Director of Marketing & Communications, said:
"The long Easter weekend is a great reason to take a break and it's always a busy time of year for us. We're equally looking forward to welcoming visitors to Hampshire who are flying into Southampton to explore the area, join cruises or visit friends and relatives."