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£75 MILLION REFURBISHMENT FOR M25 HOLMESDALE TUNNEL AND JUNCTION 25 IMPROVEMENT WORK STARTS ON SATURDAY 6 MAY

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release (WM 2728 /06 ) issued by The Government News Network on 3 May 2006

The £75 million scheme to tackle congestion at M25 Junction 25 and improve the operation and maintenance of the M25 Holmesdale Tunnel will start on Saturday 6 May and is due to be completed by Christmas 2007.

To keep traffic delays to a minimum, work will be carried out 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that the whole scheme can be completed in around 18 months. The M25 motorway will remain open with two lanes running in each direction, with a contraflow and 40 mph speed limit for the safety of drivers and workers.

The scheme will upgrade the mechanical and electrical equipment installed in the Holmesdale tunnel to improve its operation and maintenance, and will increase the number of lanes on the eastbound (clockwise) M25 carriageway at Junction 25 from two to three.

Work will be carried out in five phases:

Phase one − refurbishment of the central tunnel wall; two lanes of traffic running through each tunnel bore; 17 weeks.

Phase two − complete refurbishment of the equipment in the eastbound (clockwise) tunnel bore and construction of a third lane; eastbound tunnel bore will be totally closed to traffic, with two lanes running in each direction in the westbound tunnel bore; 28 weeks.

Phase three − complete refurbishment of the equipment in the westbound (anti−clockwise) tunnel bore; westbound tunnel bore will be totally closed to traffic, with two lanes running in each direction in the newly refurbished eastbound tunnel bore; 28 weeks.

Phases four and five − finishing work to the central reservations and replacement of the safety barriers; two lanes of traffic running through each tunnel bore; six weeks.

The eastbound (clockwise) entry slip road and the westbound (anti−clockwise) exit slip road at Junction 25 will be closed during the whole of the 18−month scheme.

Highways Agency project manager Eamonn Colgan said:

"Once completed the improvement at Junction 25 will reduce congestion and improve safety for drivers using the tunnel. The new mechanical and electrical equipment in the tunnel will reduce the number of unplanned maintenance closures currently required.

"Drivers are advised to plan their journeys, and allow extra time if possible because there will be narrow lanes, a contraflow and a speed limit of 40mph through the works area for the safety of drivers and workers. Users of the M25 should remain on the motorway and follow the dedicated diversion routes if necessary. Please drive safely and obey the temporary 40mph speed limit signs."

Notes to editors