Highways England is lifting more than 300 miles of roadworks for the Easter getaway, with as many as 20 million cars expected to hit the roads.
However, Network Rail will use the bank holiday weekend for ‘essential railway upgrades’, disrupting journeys for some passengers.
Highways England warned drivers to check their fuel
Transport analytics company INRIX said this year’s Easter period will see more than 20 million cars on the UK’s roads, with traffic forecasts for Thursday and Monday showing a 20% increase.
Thursday will be the busiest getaway day, with peaks set to reach 28.4% above average traffic levels at 5pm, up 30% on last year, as drivers set off early for the long weekend.
Inrix said the worst affected roads on Thursday will be the major motorways, with some journeys taking as much as three times longer than an average Thursday evening.
Highways England said almost 98% of motorways and strategic A roads will be roadworks-free but reminded drivers to check their vehicles for fuel and simple mechanical problems before they set off.
Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: ‘I want all drivers to arrive at their destinations safely. We are removing almost all of our roadworks across the country to make people’s journeys easier for people this Easter and we are urging drivers to make sure they are ready by checking their fuel, tyres, and lights.
He added: ‘Anyone who runs out of fuel is putting themselves and other road users, including their own passengers, at risk. ‘
The RAC said leisure traffic volumes will reach a peak on Easter Sunday, with nearly 3.75 million cars on the road.
Its data suggests motorists are planning a total of 12.8 million leisure car journeys across the four-day Easter Bank Holiday, which rises to 14.3 million if Thursday is included.
RAC Traffic Watch spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘The Easter getaway is the first big holiday break of the year for many people and 2017 promises to be no exception. While many schools across the country have already broken up, we’re expecting millions of working families to make the most of the long weekend and jump in the car for a leisure trip.’