Preston is facing yet more motorway misery as the great Easter exodus swings into action.
Thousands of extra vehicles were expected to choke up the M6 and M55 around the city, with travellers heading for the Fylde Coast, the Lake District and Scotland looking to take advantage of a warmer than normal Bank Holiday break.
Both motorways were flagged up as being amongst the worst congestion hotspots in Britain over the Easter weekend. And with many drivers predicted to make a quick getaway in a desperate bid to beat the jams, traffic looked set to build up from early afternoon.
A total of 16m cars are expected to hit the roads of the UK this weekend, many just day-trippers looking for a run-out in the sun. But despite the good weather - in stark contrast to the snow and ice which ruined Easter last year - record numbers will go abroad as Britain gets into the holiday mood. Travel agents group ABTA say 1.6m people will be flying out for Easter , with 110,000 of those leaving from Manchester Airport.
Rail travellers in the North West look set to escape hold-ups caused by engineering works over the weekend, although other parts of the country are affected.
It is on the roads where the problems will come, even though the Highways Agency says it is either completing or suspending 98 per cent of roadworks on motorways and major A roads until the end of the holiday weekend.
Blackpool is once again Britain’s top destination for Easter travellers, with the Lake District also up there. The M6 stretch between Stoke and Preston is ranked in the country’s top five bottlenecks, with the M55 between Preston and Blackpool not far behind.