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Latest live M25 traffic news

Live M25 traffic reports, plus the latest news on M25 accidents, delays, congestion and snow

Diesel motorway pollution smog traffic

The phrase ‘M25 traffic flow’ is a bit of an oxymoron. M25 travel news is usually a depressing cocktail of congestion, delays, accidents and roadworks. With the amount of traffic constantly on the ring road, the M25 especially prone to weather - rain, wind and especially snow have all been known to cause major headaches for drivers.

At 117 miles in length, the M25 London orbital is the second longest ring road in Europe, falling a mere five miles shy of the Berliner Ring in Germany. In terms of UK titles though, the M25 holds two: it is both the slowest and busiest motorway in the country.   

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What is a smart motorway?

A study conducted in 2017 recorded the average traffic speed on the M25 at just 25mph, and an older report estimated that an incredible 166,000 vehicles use the motorway each day, which is more than twice the average for UK motorways. 

The numbers for the western section of the M25 - near the M4 and Heathrow Airport - are even more eye-opening: 211,000 vehicles were recorded on that stretch back in 2015. So it’s little wonder that the M25’s crowded junctions often cause additional congestion and tailbacks on adjoining roads.

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Given the size of those traffic numbers, it can come as little surprise that journeys around London are all too frequently frustrated by hold-ups and delays. The experience is no doubt worst for commuters, who must dread the almost daily reports of M25 closures and accidents as they tune into the traffic news over breakfast.

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As a result of its popularity, the M25 has been consistently widened since it was completed as a three-lane orbital road in the late 1980s, but even the widest six-lane-per-carriageway sections struggle to cope.

Still, everyone who drives on the M25 lives in hope of a clear run, and armed with the right information you can at least try to plan your travel to avoid the M25’s worst excesses.

Scroll down to view all the latest traffic information on the M25 via our tailored Twitter feed, which pulls live information and updates from the Highways Agency, police accounts and other traffic alert feeds. We’ve also got an M25 traffic map - useful for picking out hold-ups as they happen - and a useful list of the motorway’s 31 junctions...

Live M25 Traffic updates 

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M25 area live traffic map

The western section of the M25 between Junction 10 where the A3 joins the motorway and Junction 15, the M4 junction, is statistically the busiest part of the motorway but the M25 isn’t a complete loop. In the east, it becomes the A282 for a few miles over the Dartford Crossing of the River Thames and this section is also prone to traffic problems as clockwise traffic heads over the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and anti-clockwise traffic queues to get under the Dartford Toll Tunnel.

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The introduction of the DART Charge automated payment system for the Dartford Crossing was designed to ease traffic flow but motorists must remember to pay the toll when they use the Dartford Crossing to avoid incurring a fine.  

The map below shows live updates on the current problem areas of the M25 for roadworks, accidents or general congestion causing delays on the road...   

M25 history

The idea of a London orbital road can be traced back to 1930s but it wasn’t until the 1960s that moves were made to actually construct the road that would become the M25. The M25 was born out of the London Ringways plan which marked out four ring roads around the capital. 

Ringways 3 and 4 were built in the early 1970s. The first section was started in 1973 between South Mimms and Potters Bar and this would go on to become M25 junctions 23 to 24 as the roads were integrated into the modern M25.

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Smart motorways explained

The M25 first opened to traffic in 1986 as a complete ring road for London but traffic levels exceeded those for which it was designed almost immediately and in 1990 the Secretary of State for Transport announced plans to widen the whole road to four lanes. Traffic continued to increase and road works to widen the M25 have been an almost constant companion for motorists using the road ever since.

M25 junctions

 

miles

 

Clockwise exits

 

Junction

Anti-clockwise exits

A282 – Dartford Crossing
0Dartford Crossing A282, Queen Elizabeth BridgeRiverDartford Crossing A282, Dartford Toll Tunnel
3.5Erith A206J1AErith A206, Swanscombe (A226)
4.7Dartford A225J1BExit via J2 – Dartford (A225)
M25 motorway – London Orbital
5.5London (SE & C), Bexleyheath A2 (W), Canterbury (M2) A2J2London (SE & C), Bexleyheath A2, Canterbury (M2), Dartford (A225) Ebbsfleet International, Bluewater
8.7London (SE & C) A20, Maidstone, Channel Tunnel, Folkestone M20, Swanley B2173J3Maidstone, Channel Tunnel M20, London (SE & C), Lewisham A20
12.2Bromley A21, Orpington A224J4Bromley, London (SE & C) A21, Orpington (A224), Hayes
16.316.4Sevenoaks, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Hastings A21J5Maidstone, Channel Tunnel, Dover M26 (M20), Sevenoaks, Hastings A21
21Clacket Lane servicesServicesClacket Lane services
25.8East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Caterham, Godstone A22, Redhill, Westerham (A25)J6East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Caterham, Godstone A22, Redhill, Westerham (A25)
28.6Gatwick Airport, Crawley, Brighton, Croydon M23J7Gatwick Airport, Crawley, Brighton, M23(S), Croydon M23(N)
31.9London (S & SW), Reigate, Sutton A217, Kingston (A240)J8London (S & SW), Reigate, Sutton A217, Kingston (A240)
38.539.5Leatherhead A243, Dorking, (A24)J9Leatherhead A243, Dorking (A24)
42.643.2Cobham servicesServicesCobham services
45London (SW & C), Guildford, Portsmouth A3J10London (SW & C), Guildford, Kingston A3
49.8Chertsey A317, Woking A320J11Woking A320, Chertsey A317
52.1Basingstoke, Southampton, Richmond M3J12Basingstoke, Southampton, Richmond M3
55.2London (W & C), Hounslow, Staines A30J13London (W & C), Hounslow, Staines A30
57Heathrow Airport (Terminals 4, 5 and Cargo) A3113J14Heathrow Airport (Terminals 4, 5 and Cargo) A3113
59The West, Slough, Reading, London (W & C), Heathrow Airport(Terminals 1, 2 and 3) M4 European route E30J15The West, Slough, Reading M4(W), London (W & C), Heathrow Airport (Terminals 1, 2 & 3) M4(E)
63.8The North, Birmingham, Oxford, Uxbridge, London (W & C) M40J16Birmingham, Oxford M40(W), Uxbridge, London (W & C) M40(E)
68.7Rickmansworth, Maple Cross (A412)J17Rickmansworth, Maple Cross A412
69.9Chorleywood, Amersham A404J18Chorleywood, Amersham A404
71.5Watford A41J19Exit via J20 – Watford A41
73.5Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury A41J20Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury, Watford A41
76.3The North, Luton & Luton Airport M1J21The North, Luton & Luton Airport M1
76.9Watford A405Harrow (M1 South) European route E13J21ASt Albans A405, London (NW & C) (M1 (South))
80.6London Colney A1081J22St Albans A1081
83.3Hatfield A1(M), London (NW & C) A1, Barnet A1081South Mimms servicesJ23Hatfield A1(M), London (NW & C) A1, Barnet A1081, South Mimms services
85.9Potters Bar A111J24Potters Bar A111
91.4Enfield Town, Hertford A10J25Enfield, Hertford, London (N & C) A10
94.9Waltham Abbey, Loughton A121J26Waltham Abbey, Loughton A121
99.2London (NE & C), Stansted Airport, Harlow, Cambridge M11J27London (NE & C) M11(N), Stansted Airport, Harlow, Cambridge M11(S)
107.1Chelmsford, Witham, Colchester A12, Brentwood A1023 European route E30J28Chelmsford, Romford A12, Brentwood A1023
109.9Romford, Basildon, Southend A127J29Basildon, Southend, Romford A127
115.2Tilbury, Thurrock, Lakeside A13(E), London (E & C) A13(W), Thurrock servicesJ30London (E & C), Barking, Tilbury, Basildon, Dagenham, Rainham A13
A282 Road – Dartford Crossing
115.9Exit via J30 – Purfleet (A1090), South Ockendon, Thurrock servicesA1306J31Thurrock (Lakeside), Thurrock services A1306, Purfleet(A1090), West Thurrock (A126)
117Dartford Crossing A282, Queen Elizabeth BridgeRiverDartford Crossing A282, Dartford Toll Tunnel

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M25 key traffic facts

  • • The M25 is 117 miles long.
  • • M25 is the second longest ring road in Europe after the one encircling Berlin (122 miles).
  • • At it’s closest point (Potters Bar in Hertfordshire) the M25 is 12.5 miles from Charing Cross in central London. 
  • • At its furthest point, at Byfleet in Surrey, the M25 is 19.5 miles away from Charing Cross.
  • • There are 31 junctions on the M25, if you include Junctions 1A, 1B and 31 which are technically on the A282 as the ring road passes the Dartford Crossing.
  • • The M25 has sections in Kent (junctions 1A to 5), Surrey (junctions 6 to 14), Buckinghamshire (junctions 15 to 16), Hertfordshire (junctions 17 to 25) and Essex (junctions 26 to 31). 
  • • The M25’s busiest section is between junctions 14 and 15. It handled 211,000 vehicles a day on average in 2015. 

Tell us your M25 traffic tales in the comments section below... 

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