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Government clears roadworks and rail engineering works for Christmas travel

Roadworks across Herts and Essex will be cleared to minimise disruption on the roads over Christmas while rail services will be ramped up.

The measures are part of a nationwide drive to make travel safer over the festive period as families take advantage of an easing of Covid-19 restrictions and form three-household bubbles.

The Government is also working with transport operators to establish priority areas for testing of workers, to maintain and maximise services.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "With many people carefully considering whether to travel to see loved ones this Christmas, we're taking steps to try to ease journeys.

"Clearing 778 miles of road works and postponing rail upgrade works will ease congestion, minimise disruption and allow extra services to run.

"That action is backed by scrapping the admin fees for changing advance rail tickets, ensuring a strong staff presence to help people on their way. And I've asked former Olympics transport boss and chair of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy to carry out a rigorous assessment alongside transport operators to ensure everything possible is being done to help.

"We're working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones, safely. We ask everyone to closely consider their journey, plan and book ahead, be patient, and be considerate of fellow passengers – and particularly staff who have worked so hard all year - by following the guidance carefully, including keeping space and wearing a face covering on public transport."

Ministers have written to all local authorities including Herts and Essex to request that they lift as many roadworks as possible and ensure bus services are running reliably.

The Government has also asked all local authorities to "ensure winter preparedness", with around 70% confirming they will modify gritting routes to ensure Covid-19 testing centres are covered.

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