As thousands of music fans get ready for Leeds Festival, National Highways is advising drivers to allow extra time for their journeys as heavy congestion is expected on motorways and major roads in Yorkshire.
The A1, A1(M), M1, M62 and A64 are all likely to be busy at key times between Wednesday 23 and Monday 28 August – especially at the beginning and end of the three-day event.
And with the expected August bank holiday traffic and roadworks in the area, including the A1 Wentbridge Viaduct improvements near Pontefract and a barrier upgrade near junction 42 of the M1 near Lofthouse, the roads are anticipated to be extra busy over the weekend.
National Highways Operations Manager Dave Skupski said:
Leeds Festival has the second biggest impact on traffic on our network after the British Grand Prix. It’s a huge event with up to 90,000 people expected to attend.
If you’re planning to go to Leeds Festival, give yourself plenty of time to get there. Follow the signs, and don’t rely on your satnavs.
Even if you’re not planning to attend, please make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey if you’re travelling around this area. If possible, avoid the expected peak festival arrival and departure times, and consider travelling at different times if you can.
The following areas are predicted to be particularly busy throughout the festival period and as people leave the site:
- Junction 43 of the A1M at Hook Moor, where the A1M and M1 merge. To help alleviate some of the congestion, hard shoulder running will be in place for festival traffic, which will be clearly signed.
- The A1M at junctions 44 (Bramham) and 45 (Grange Moor)
- The A64 westbound approach to A1M – the A64 westbound will be closed to through-traffic after the Bramham crossroads throughout the festival period.
- The A1M southbound is expected to be very slow on Monday between junctions 44 and 47, due to the number of people leaving the festival as well as bank holiday traffic.
We’ve been working closely with Festival Republic, West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council to plan our traffic management and keep disruption to a minimum.
This year, there will be extra resource around the junction 44 roundabout for the period as people are leaving the festival. There will be additional traffic officers on duty, patrolling or parked up at strategic points to help manage traffic and keep drivers on the move. Electronic variable message signs will be used to advise motorway users in advance as well as during the event to direct traffic, warn of incidents and any congestion.
As usual, we’ve ensured there are no roadworks in the immediate area over the weekend and our control room operators will be closely monitoring motorway traffic using CCTV cameras. However, as well as the Wentbridge Viaduct work, there will be concrete barrier works near junction 42 of the M1 at Lofthouse and the emergency area works around Sheffield.
Our message to anyone heading to the festival or using those key routes around Leeds over the weekend is to plan your journey, check traffic conditions before setting out and give yourself plenty of time. Don’t underestimate how busy the roads will be.
Traffic is expected to be particularly heavy as people arrive between 8am and 4pm on Wednesday, 8am to 4pm on Thursday and 10am to 1pm each day on Friday to Sunday.
There will be no through route from junction 47 of the M1 to junction 44 of the A1(M) via Aberford Village, throughout the festival period.
Leaving the event
The busiest times as people leave are likely to be between 11pm on Sunday night and 2am on Bank Holiday Monday morning, and then from 8am to 2pm later that day.
The northbound exit slip road at Junction 45 of the A1(M) will be closed from 4am to 2pm on Monday to support traffic leaving the festival.
Drop off and pick up
All drop-off and pick-up traffic will be directed to A1(M) junction 44 and west on the A64.
Traffic will be permitted to use the hard shoulder in Aberford Dip to queue for junction 44.
The A64 will be closed eastbound from Red Bus Layby to junction 44.
The A64 westbound from the junction 44 roundabout will be festival access only for drop off and pick-up.