BRITAIN is set for travel chaos on Bank Holiday Monday as over 10 MILLION cars are expected to hit the road in what experts are already branding ‘Meltdown Monday’.
Huge queues are also expected at UK airports as hundreds of thousands of Brits return home following the three day break.
And to add insult to injury, much of the nation’s rail network is currently closed for maintenance, meaning millions will be forced into rail-replacement services or seeking alternative routes.
As a result, Monday is set to be the busiest day for travel over the Bank Holiday weekend, experts warn.
Despite some showers, transport experts say millions will snarl roads as they flock to coasts, the countryside and May fairs on traditional May Bank Holiday days out after two years of Covid cancellations.
AA spokesman Tony Rich said: “Monday looks the busiest day of the holiday weekend on the roads.
“Although Monday’s weather will be mixed, 10 million vehicles are expected across leisure outings, normal trips and work purposes.
“People want to enjoy themselves after Covid, and May Bank Holiday is a traditional day out.
“Coastal routes, beauty spots, shopping areas and local events will have congestion.”
Hold-ups are also due on the M25 west between the M3 and M4 junctions, and the A303 at Stonehenge, AA trends showed.
National Highways has not suspended trunk route roadworks this weekend – meaning worse congestion after road chiefs did remove many works for the Easter weekend.
Bosses say it would not be cost-effective to remove big schemes this weekend.
But a whopping 2,700 council and utility roadworks have remained in place over the weekend, RAC Route Planner data shows.
This comes on top of travel carnage on Sunday which saw the M4 near Heathrow Airport closed in both directions following a horror crash involving a child.
Police said a ten-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital in a life-threatening condition in front of thousands of motorists.
While a further four people were also taken to hospitals in south and west London.
The incident has also caused delays to stretch back onto the M25 for those travelling eastbound.
Police warned motorists that the M4 will “remain closed some time” as officers appeal for witnesses following the horrific accident.
Highways England said diversions were in place around the airport and urged motorists to avoid the area or avoid travelling entirely.
Understaffed airports, including under-fire Manchester and Birmingham, are set for passport and baggage queues as travellers return home.
The warnings follow two-hour hold-ups on Friday as holidaymakers left the country for short breaks away.
Returning airport travellers also face chaos after they leave the terminal – with rail works meaning the Gatwick Express service scrapped and the Stansted Express link using a bus south of the airport.
London to Glasgow on the west coast rail line is also hit by multiple works.
Travel insiders said even-more intensive rail engineering works than at Easter is shunting train passengers onto roads, adding to congestion.
Rail passengers have been told not to travel from London to Glasgow on the west coast main line.
Mr Rich said: “Road traffic in areas with rail strikes and disruption is expected to increase by 10 to 15 per cent.”
550 rail engineering works are hitting this weekend – more than the 530 over the four-day Easter weekend.
Network Rail will spend £70million on projects in three days, with the £23m-a-day average making it a more prolific burst of works than Easter’s £83 million spread across four days, averaging £21m-a-day.
Rail expert Ian Baldry, who has run IBPTS travel consultants since 2001, said: “Rail works this weekend are being squeezed into three days, with an even more intense amount of work taking place than over Easter.
“Replacement buses and diversions can add hours to journeys, so there is big disruption for passengers this Bank Holiday weekend.
“Some passengers will just give up and drive, as they’ll say it’s not worth the hassle of travelling by train.”
Network Rail said: “We’re asking passengers who are using the railway this weekend to check their journey in advance.
“Upgrades will help make the railway more reliable and fit for the future. Over 95 per cent of the network will be unaffected by works.”