Drivers 'choosing to ignore' official diversion route around M25 closure, say highways bosses

An "increasing number" of drivers are "choosing to ignore" the official diversion route around the M25 closure, highways bosses have warned.

National Highways say they are making "good progress" to install a new gantry and a new gyratory bridge between junctions 9 and 10 of the motorway.

The seven-mile stretch, through Surrey, closed at 9pm on Friday and is due to reopen at 6am on Monday, while the work takes place.

A planned 19-mile diversion route, which sends vehicles through parts of Surrey and Greater London, is in place during the closure.

However, National Highways say some drivers are not sticking to the route and are instead following another route specified for freight vehicles.

Simon Elliott, National Highways senior project manager, said: "It is important that drivers follow the diversion route in place."

The official clockwise route for non-freight vehicles involves drivers coming off at junction 8, before travelling along the A217, the A240, the A24, and the A3, before rejoining the M25 at junction 10.

Freight vehicles should continue on to junction 9 and travel towards Chessington on the A243 and then back towards junction 10 via the A307.

However, Mr Elliott said non-freight drivers were also using this route.

"Coming off at junction 9 means non-freight drivers will end up travelling behind or alongside HGVs which is something we are actively trying to avoid and is likely to have a negative impact on travel times, congestion and the communities they pass through," he said.

This weekend's closure is the second of five planned closures of the motorway, and comes after a section between junctions 10 and 11 was shut in March.

On that occasion, fears diversion routes would become overwhelmed proved unfounded, as traffic levels were more than two-thirds lower than normal after a widespread awareness campaign.

National Highways say this weekend's closure is to allow for the installation of a new bridge between junction 9 and junction 10.

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The previous closure was to allow for the demolition of Clearmount bridleway bridge between junction 10 and junction 11 and the installation of a large gantry.

Three more weekend closures of the M25 are set to take place between August and the end of the year.