Return of the Traffic Jam

Living in the North West of England, we are generally fortunate when it comes to traffic. Although we have peak-time congestion, most of the time most of the traffic keeps moving. But the last two years have been different.

Almost two years ago I posted some photos from traffic cameras, showing eerily empty roads on the Easter weekend as the first lockdown took effect. Motorways that would normally be full of cars taking people to the Lake District and the coast were instead deserted.

M6 near Preston, Easter weekend in April 2020. Perfect for the daily commute.

Since then we have got used to driving in traffic once again. However we haven't returned to pre-pandemic levels of traffic as a significant number of people continue to work at home during the week and others postpone their UK breaks at the weekend.

It only takes a small reduction in traffic to remove congestion and we have now enjoyed a couple of years of free-flowing motorways and roads.

M6 in Cheshire this week

Until this week. As more people go back to the office, roadworks re-start and people take more weekend breaks, we have seen the return of once-familiar peak-time jams both on motorways and in the cities.

Whilst this can be an irritation, it is also a reassuring sign of the return to pre-pandemic normality and - in  an odd way - we have welcomed the traffic jams back into our lives.

Once-familiar chaos on the North-West's motorway network