The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

Sales shoppers set to cause more jams after six-hour queue at Bluewater

Retail tailbacks


Traffic jams down the motorway

CHRISTMAS CHEER may come to a grinding halt this week as sales shoppers hit the road, causing monster jams.


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Just over one in 10 motorists are planning to drive more than 20 miles to go shopping, or on a day trip, on Monday, according to a survey carried out by the AA. Similar levels of traffic are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.

While the volume of traffic will be less than on the busiest days before Christmas, when almost half of motorists travelled more than 20 miles in one day, the jams could be just as intense, as bargain hunters converge on shopping centres such as the two Westfield outlets in London, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Bluewater in Kent.

Last week, pre-Christmas shoppers caused gridlock at Bluewater, and some claimed to have waited six hours to leave the car park, as queues of traffic waiting to get in blocked exits for shoppers trying to leave, while an accident nearby added to the delays.

Bluewater said that it would be working closely with Kent police and Highways England, which manages major roads, to minimise congestion at peak times — such as this week.