The vast majority (99%) of motorways and key A-roads across England will be free of roadworks in time for the Christmas period, according to Highways England.

The organisation has confirmed there will be an embargo on all roadworks in England from 6am on 22nd December to 12.01am on 2nd January 2018. It is hoped that the suspension or completion of roadworks in time for the festive season will open more lanes and lift speed restrictions to improve the overall flow of traffic nationwide.

At present, there are almost 400 miles of roadworks in operation across the country and Highways England is working hard to lift and complete as much of this as possible to bring some early Christmas cheer to fleet operators.

Melanie Clarke, customer service director, Highways England, said: “We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Christmas and that’s why we’re keeping 99% of the road network we manage free from roadworks.

“Over the past two years we’ve already added 190 lane miles of much needed capacity and that will make life easier for those travelling around this month, as the Christmas countdown begins.”

During this year’s festive season, over 5,000 Highways England staff will be working to ease congestion and clear road traffic incidents. Last Christmas, Highways England traffic officers reached over 49,000 incidents, clearing over 85% of them within the hour of them occurring.

Rod Dennis, spokesman, RAC, said that the news of a pause on roadworks will be a welcome relief to drivers planning to travel to visit family and friends during Christmas.

“This will be welcome news for millions of shoppers – and indeed commuters – in the run up to Christmas,” said Dennis.

“With stress levels bound to increase as we get closer to the 25th, drivers can take some reassurance that at least roadworks shouldn’t be adding to their frustration.

“That’s not to say there won’t be hold ups on particularly busy parts of the road network though, so we strongly recommend drivers plan their journeys carefully and try and avoid peak times if they can.”