M25 'will be ready'
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by Alan Millar
THE MUCH-DELAYED opening of the M25 London orbital route in north-west Surrey will take place on October 7, Transport Secretary Nicholas Ridley pledged twice last week.
He gave the undertaking on the opening of the WisleyReigate section one of the longest missing sections of the 050 million motorway when he opened another key section between the M4 and M40 in Buckinghamshire last Wednesday, and again the same day when he spoke at the Freight Transport Association's national conference.
The FTA had already complained (CM, September 14) that the delayed opening of the 13-mile section in Surrey is costing transport operators .00,000 a day in diversion costs and hold-ups.
Ridley said at the Buckinghamshire opening ceremony: "The sections from Wisley to Reigate will be open to traffic on October 7.
"I am disappointed that they are not open already, but as A civil engineer, I appreciate that problems can arise. The contractor and our consulting engineers are doing all they can to put those problems right as quickly as possible."
The M4/M40 link, which by-passes Denham, and Iver, has been finished before the interchange with the M4 is complete.
Once open, the section of M25 just to the south will be the busiest, Ridley predicted. More than 200,000 vehicles a day would use the motorways through the interchange.
.Completion of the WiskyReigate section will leave only 60 miles of the orbital route to be finished, one .section linking Chandler's Cross with South Mimms in Hertfordshire, the. other from Dunton Green to Swanky in Kent.
Current expectation is that the M25 will he completed by November next year.
Ridley assured the ETA conference that the Department of Transport is looking "urgently" at providing additional capacity at Dartford, where the existing two tunnel bores a re approaching full capacity.
The DTp has already funded the construction of additional toll collection booths for the tunnel, so that no delays are caused before traffic enters the tunnel, but saturation point in the tunnel is expected soon after the full motorway is open.
• more On FTA conference report, p25.