M25 closure creates ‘ghost town’ amid warnings of future shutdowns

A new gantry was installed over the M25 and the plans are on schedule
A new gantry was installed over the M25 and the plans are on schedule - DAN KITWOOD/GETTY IMAGES EUROPE

The weekend closure of part of the M25 left a Surrey golf club a “ghost town”, amid warnings of further disruption from future planned shutdowns of the motorway.

A five-mile stretch of London’s orbital motorway between junctions 10 and 11 was closed in both directions between Friday night and Monday morning while a bridge was demolished and a new gantry installed.

It was the first daytime closure of the M25 since it was opened in 1986.

There were tailbacks of up to two miles, while businesses suffered as thousands of motorists heeded official advice and stayed at home.

Silvermere Golf Club, a plush 18-hole course near Cobham just off the M25, lost an estimated £50,000 over the weekend as its normally bustling complex was left largely empty.

“It was a ghost down today,” said Terry Sims, 52, the managing director of Silvermere. “It seems that a lot of people stayed away - we were 45 per cent down in the restaurant and 43 per cent down in retail... There was a period of time where basically nobody came in.”

He added that with four more daytime closures of the M25 planned up to September, “it will be between £250,000 to £300,000 turnover off our line if it’s a ghost town”.

A bridge was demolished and a new gantry installed
A bridge was demolished and a new gantry installed - Chris Gorman / Big Ladder/Chris Gorman / Big Ladder

Mr Sims said that traffic issues in the area have been “a growing issue over the last five to eight years” around junction 10 and a major conference provider had already pulled out of hosting events at Silvermere as a result, leading to a loss of £3,500 a month in income.

The point where the M25 intersects with the A3 is one of Britain’s busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions, with one of the highest rates of traffic accidents across the National Highways network.

The Telegraph understands that other nearby businesses along the diversion route also suffered as a result of the weekend shutdown.

Mark Pollak, owner of Billy Tong, which caters for events and sells biltong at markets, told the PA news agency that he expects to see 50 per cent of the firm’s turnover for the weekend go “down the drain”.

Meanwhile, the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship Wisley Gardens had advised would-be visitors to “allow a little extra time to complete your journey,” adding that a local bus service used by patrons would not be stopping at the gardens during the closure.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade association UK Hospitality, said she hoped National Highways would work with local businesses to “try to manage diversions better and minimise disruptions to trade”.

“Hundreds of local hospitality and tourism businesses have seen a disrupted start to the crucial Easter period, with visitors to pubs, restaurants and tourist attractions caught up in a weekend of chaotic disruption,” she said.

“We urge local councils to use discretionary powers to reduce business rates liabilities for businesses who are seeing revenues reduced by between a third and a half.”

The M25 was a lot quieter than usual
The M25 was a lot quieter than usual - Dan Kitwood/Getty

The M25 normally carries up to 6,000 vehicles in each direction every hour at weekends between junctions nine and 11, including between Britain’s two busiest airports at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Amanda Boote, of Woking Borough Council, said that traffic along the new route through the towns of Byfleet, West Byfleet, Woking and Ottershaw was not as bad as feared.

National Highways South-East said the estimated average journey time through the diversion route was 25 minutes and that its work remained on schedule ahead of the Monday morning rush hour.

Despite the relatively smooth weekend, business leaders are cautioning that the four planned future shutdowns will cause even more losses of trade.

Four more closures of the M25’s south west quadrant are set to take place later this year, with the next being scheduled for the weekend of 19–22 April.

National Highways has not confirmed future closure dates, although it indicated that the following shutdown will take place at some point in May.

Disruption to local businesses around the M25 closures is set to get worse as the year progresses, with official statistics from the Department for Transport showing that road traffic is at its highest in summer and lowest in winter.


06:33 PM GMT

That’s all

Our live coverage is now ending.


05:07 PM GMT

Reports of a broken down vehicle at Junction 9

A vehicle has broken down on the exit of Junction 9 clockwise at Leatherhead and Epsom on the M25 causing congestion.


04:33 PM GMT

National Highways renews call to avoid M25


04:07 PM GMT

M25 reopening set for 5.30am

National Highways South East has confirmed Junctions 10 and 11 will reopen at 5.30am on Monday morning and not 6am as previously listed.

Replying to concerns on X, formally Twitter, a spokesman said: “I can confirm it is 0530. The static signs were put together when the original plan was for it to reopen at 0600 but a last minute change to the work plan allowed us to move the planned end time back to 0530.”


03:50 PM GMT

Environmental works taking place on M25 and A3

The M25 and A3 Wisley interchange is located among rare habitats such as the heathlands at Wisley and Ockham commons.

Part of the ongoing engineering works, which have resulted in the first daytime closure of the M25 since it was opened in 1986, is an environmental initiative to restore these heathlands to their former glory.

The heathland encompassing the motorway has declined by 85 per cent in the last 200 years.

Wisley & Ockham Common Forest
Wisley & Ockham Common Forest
Wisley & Ockham Common Forest
Wisley & Ockham Common Forest

Part of the conservation plan is to remove the trees on the heathland to restore the native wildlife including birds such as the Dartford Warbler, Nightjar and Woodlark.

In other areas new trees will be planted and existing woodlands will be enhanced.

Structurally, the A3 will be surfaced with a low noise material and environmental barriers along the M25 will be replaced.


01:29 PM GMT

Motorists urged to avoid A245 as traffic builds

Surrey Highways has urged motorists to avoid the main diversion route along the A245 as traffic begins to build.

It said on X, formally Twitter: “Surrey’s roads are generally coping with the impact of the M25 closure between J10 at Wisley and J11 at Chertsey. But we’re seeing ongoing delays between Byfleet and Painshill.

“Thank you to the drivers who are avoiding the area, and please continue to check travel updates.”


01:19 PM GMT

Traffic at standstill on M20

Traffic is currently being held on the M20 between Junction 7 at Maidstone and Junction 8 at Hollingbourne in both directions.

The cause of the standstill is unknown but Kent police are at the scene.

National Highways South East have said there is a 45-minute delay and are advising people to check their route.

Jct 7 M20
Jct 7 M20

12:51 PM GMT

M25 to have four more daytime closures this year

Between mid-May and the end of the year the M25 will be closed during the day four times as work continues to increase the number of lanes at Junction 10.

The junction, where the M25 meets the A3 to Guildford and Portsmouth, is one of Britain’s busiest and most dangerous motorway junctions, holding one of the highest collision rates across the National Highways network.

Work is currently underway to expand Junction 10 to reduce congestion and improve safety. It is set to be completed in summer 2025.

The M25 on average sees 300,000 vehicles pass through daily. On weekends 4,000 to 6,000 motorists travel between Junction 9 and 11 every hour from 10am to 9pm.

National Highways said the exact dates of these closures were yet to be confirmed.


12:10 PM GMT

Traffic update

Congestion is building on the M25 clockwise between Junctions 9 and 10.

Anticlockwise on the M24 at Junction 11 there are reports of traffic “at a standstill” according to Inrix near Chertsey for about 2km.

The A3 northbound is experiencing delays of at least 10 minutes at the Wesley interchange.

There is slow traffic on the A245 Byfleet Road Eastbound before A3 (Painshill).

The A245 has one lane closed westbound between Painshill and Seven Hills Road.


11:24 AM GMT

Traffic chaos has been ‘utterly underwhelming’

Congestion during the motorway closure has been lighter than feared. Motorists and residents alike had been preparing for “carmegeddon” as the stretch that usually sees more than 300,000 vehicles was rerouted onto residential, often single lane, routes.

But it seems advance warnings for motorists to avoid the area have worked.

Lisa Townsend, the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, said predictions of traffic chaos had been “utterly underwhelming” so far.

“I was out yesterday and I’ll be honest, I’ve not seen the M25 that quiet since Covid,” she told The Telegraph on Sunday morning.

“We know that stretch, particularly junction 10 to 11 , is the busiest and most dangerous stretch of highway in Europe. And from a policing perspective, it’s, you know, it’s definitely one of our busier ones.”

“I suppose my concern is obviously we’ve got a further four of these closures between now and September,” she said, adding that she hopes motorists will continue “easing off” on travelling through the closure and diversion areas.

Debbie Curtis, 38, a Chertsey resident, said local traffic at her part of the diversion route had been “quieter than usual”.

“All roads around Chertsey area were quieter than usual all day Saturday – I made 4 journeys to and from Bisley,” she said.

“Seems like people stayed away or at home for fear of diversion jams.”


10:43 AM GMT

Other travel disruptions:

Morning travellers have faced disruptions due to overrunning engineering works.

Routes between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington faced cancellations or delays of up to 30 minutes, with disruption expected until 11am

London St Pancras International and London Charing Cross headed towards Dover Priory and Ashford International are on bus replacement service until 2pm because of an electrical fault between Dover Priory and Folkestone Central.

Engineers are reportedly on site.

Heathrow express has 15 mins delays on its service after overrunning engineering works, which resulted in early morning cancellations.


10:31 AM GMT

Picture: New gantry installed overnight

A new gantry has been installed overnight and works “remain on schedule”, according to National Highways South East.

A new gantry has been installed overnight and works "remain on schedule", according to National Highways South East.
A new gantry has been installed overnight and works "remain on schedule", according to National Highways South East.
A new gantry has been installed overnight and works "remain on schedule", according to National Highways South East.
A new gantry has been installed overnight and works "remain on schedule", according to National Highways South East.

10:11 AM GMT

Traffic ‘not as bad as feared’

Amanda Boote, of Woking borough council, told the PA news agency that traffic along the diversion through the towns of Byfleet, West Byfleet, Woking and Ottershaw was not as bad as feared.

Concerns had been raised that thousands of drivers would be stuck in gridlocked traffic over the weekend during the unprecedented closure on the south west of the orbital route, with one councillor calling it a “nightmare”.

But CCTV from Junction 9 shows traffic is busy but moving at the start of the diversion at Leatherhead and Epsom.


09:50 AM GMT

M25 diversion route

Diversions are in place around Junction 9-11 rerouting traffic through some residential areas with single lanes in each direction.

South East Coast Ambulance Service, which covers Surrey, urged drivers to clear the way for ambulances.

A spokesman said: “We ask for the public’s support and advise motorists to avoid the area unless their journey is essential.

“We also ask that, as ever, they are aware of any emergency vehicles looking to progress through any heavier traffic.”


09:46 AM GMT

M25 closures

A five-mile stretch of the M25 between Junctions 10 and 11 has been closed since 9pm on Friday March 15 and will reopen 6am on Monday March 18.

The M25 meets the A3 to Guildford and Portsmouth at Junction 10 and Junction 11 links the A320 between Staines and Woking, as well as the A317 to Weybridge.


09:41 AM GMT

Good morning

Welcome to day two of our coverage on the planned closure of the M25 between Junction 10 and 11

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