On the scene at the M25 closure: did it really cause traffic chaos?

I hop off the train at Byfleet & New Haw, about half a mile north of the diversion route, and head for the A245, expecting it to be transformed into a car park. Cut down the alley, head down the path towards the roundabout and… Oh. Everything is fine.

Byfleet isn’t a dystopian future vision of a cyberpunk future where public transport is banned and people are forced to drive everywhere, choking the streets with thousands of types of traffic – it’s just a small town with a road that barely qualifies as busy going through the middle of it. Sure, there are more lorries than normal, but the road itself is flowing along like it would on any other Saturday morning.

M25 diversion traffic flowing

The diversion route crosses over an eerily deserted M25 – eight lanes of silence. A fair few locals have cycled up here to take a look at the empty expressway, and they share my disbelief that it’s possible for the diversion route to be so quiet – especially as any M25 issues tend to end up clogging their local roads.

Further along, West Byfleet high street – a traffic-light controlled crossroads that was expected to be a massive bottleneck – is also flowing just as smoothly as it normally would. I speak to a few shop owners, who are just as surprised about the whole thing as I am.

“I cancelled all of our appointments for today, but I needn’t have bothered,” says Ian Barnes, who runs Surrounds Art on the high street. “I drove in super early at sox am expecting pandemonium, but it’s been even quieter than it normally is – I think that’s because it’s been advertised so well and so far in advance.”

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