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Highways England clears the way to Easter holiday destinations
Highways England is helping people travelling to seaside locations, ports and airports this Easter by lifting as many roadworks as possible.
In recent weeks, motorways and major A roads leading to Blackpool, the south coast, Dover and Luton Airport have all undergone vital improvement work.
But as these routes will see increased traffic over the Easter period, Highways England is removing some 300 miles of roadworks to make journeys better for drivers and their passengers. That means around 99 per cent of motorways and major A-roads will be roadworks-free in time for Easter.

The move has been welcomed by coach travel company National Express.
Managing director of National Express Coaches, Chris Hardy, said: “We work with Highways England round the year to support them in maintaining and improving the road network that links the 900 plus destinations we offer services to.
“With more than 1,100 airport services every day, we will be carrying over 91,000 passengers direct to the departure doors over the Easter period. That’s 16 per cent more than last year, showing what an important part coach travel plays in holiday getaway plans.

“It’s great that Highways England have lifted roadworks on key routes, including those serving airports, helping us make sure we can get passengers where they need to be for their Easter plans.”

Notable locations benefitting from works lifted or completed includes which are likely to see increased traffic includes:
• Three miles of roadworks being lifted M55 junction 3 (near Windy Harbour) – Blackpool
• Almost two miles of roadworks on A21 between Johns Cross (A2100) and Whatlington Road (near Mountfield, Sussex)
• Three miles of roadworks on the A20, Western Heights roundabout to Courtwood Interchange (B2011) (near Dover, Kent)
• Almost three miles of roadworks on M1 junction 9 – 10 (near Luton Airport)

Highways England’s customer service director, Melanie Clarke, said: “We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that’s why we’re keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage, free from roadworks.
“Safety is our top imperative and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns are avoidable and these can easily be avoided with simple vehicle checks. Easter is always a busy period on the road network and we’d urge all motorists to make sure they do their bit to check their vehicle is roadworthy before setting off over this period.”

Highways England data also shows of the more than 1bn miles travelled in the week leading up to Easter last year, more than 280 million miles were on Maundy Thursday alone; that’s almost 20 million more than the preceding Thursday.
Its Traffic Officers will be working around the clock to help people who get into difficulty.

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And Highways England is calling on drivers to do their bit and check their vehicle before setting off to avoid breakdowns, and keep the road network flowing freely. Highways England research shows almost half of all breakdowns are caused by simple mechanical problems which could be avoided with simple checks and nearly a quarter are caused by tyre problems.
Highways England is also reminding drivers to stay safe this Easter by adhering to motorway signage, including the red X signals on smart motorways.

Highways England closes lanes for a reason and drivers ignoring red X signs put themselves and others at risk.
Those wishing to find out more about driving on smart motorways can head online to: www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway for further information.

Highways England is the government-owned company responsible for modernising, maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads.
And before they set off, Highways England is urging motorists to:
• Check fuel: Make sure you have enough to get to your destination.
• Check tyres: Prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit.
• Check engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual.
• Check water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.
• Check your lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT.
Highways England also has a series of specialist videos online to help people carry out basic vehicle checks before they set off on their travels. The videos can be viewed online here: http://think.direct.gov.uk/carchecks.html
Those wishing to find out more about driving on smart motorways can head online to: www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-

Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available via its website ( www.trafficengland.com), local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps. Local Twitter services are also available at www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.