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Unprecedented M25 closure could be 'nightmare' as busy section shuts

The first-ever planned daytime closure of the M25 could become a "nightmare" as residents and businesses nearby brace for gridlocked traffic.

A five-mile stretch of the motorway will remain shut until 6am on Monday between junctions 10 and 11, one of the busiest routes in the country that also serves Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

And with an 11.5-mile diversion route to direct motorway traffic along A roads, concerns have been raised that congestion near the M25 will affect locals.

Daryl Jordan, of Woking Borough Council, said Byfleet Road, which is close to junction 10, had been "chock-a-block" on Friday afternoon.

"It is pulling people apart," he added.

Everything you need to know about the M25 closure

"When you work full-time and then you're going to get home tonight from work thinking 'I must fill the fridge up' and you can't even get into your own village. It's going to be a nightmare."

The closure is in place so the Clearmount bridge can be demolished to make way for motorway improvements, with engineers set to slowly chip away at the concrete and steel structure.

But once work begins, they cannot stop - and with no plan B, the M25 would simply remain shut for longer if the job is not completed by Monday morning.

Some business owners along the diversion route will be hoping disruption does not last longer than planned, having already cut their services in anticipation of traffic.

Mark Pollak, owner of Billy Tong, which caters for events and sells biltong at markets, said he expects to see 50% of the firm's turnover for the weekend go "down the drain".

He said he had to refuse a request to cater an event in Guildford and had to cancel its stall at Surbiton Farmers' Market on Saturday with staff not wanting to face expected traffic to get to jobs.

Others are less affected, with the Black Prince pub in Addlestone expecting to host the usual locals.

The M25 normally carries between 4,000 and 6,000 vehicles in each direction every hour from 10am until 9pm at weekends between junctions nine and 11.

Motoring experts are warning official estimates of congestion levels may be "optimistic", as National Highways hopes journeys will be delayed by no more than an hour.

The company is also urging drivers not to use satnavs to find quicker routes, and instead stick to the diversion.

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Some of the diversion goes in towards London and the ULEZ zone, but for this weekend the scheme won't be enforceable as long as drivers stay within the prescribed route.

Four more daytime closures of the M25 will take place up to September.