The Highways Agency has condemned pranksters, who last night reconfigured the M25 in to a giant figure-of-eight, and branded their actions as being, “short-sighted, potentially dangerous and extremely silly”.
Agency spokesman, Martin Potts, said: “Whoever is responsible for this simply didn’t stop to consider the consequences of their actions. If they had, then they might have thought twice before deciding to play Scalextric with our motorway, causing severe disruption and adding to the misery already experienced by motorists on the M25”.
Mr. Kevin Baxter, a 42-year-old Chartered Accountant from Guilford, was one such motorist, who experienced the consequences of the prank, while en route to a business meeting in Dublin. “I was driving clockwise round the M25 just minutes away from Heathrow, when all of a sudden I found myself heading anti-clockwise, somewhere on the outskirts of Romford”, said Mr. Baxter.
“At first I thought the Sat-Nav was playing up, but when I unexpectedly encountered oncoming traffic crossing my carriageway, I knew something was up”, he continued. “It was chaos and an absolute miracle that I didn’t hit anything, or anyone. In the end I didn’t get to the airport until nine hours after the scheduled departure time of my flight. Luckily I’d booked with Ryanair, so fingers crossed, I’ll be boarding and on my way to Dublin in a few more hours”.
The Highways Agency have warned motorists to expect “severe disruption” on the M25 for at least the next fifteen years, while junctions 1A and 15 are separated and the motorway returned to its original “orbital” layout. “What may have appeared to be a harmless drunken prank at the time is - in the cold light of day - likely to cost the tax payer billions to put right”, said Mr. Potts. “And that’s not including the millions in lost revenue from the dozens of speed cameras, which are now aimlessly policing traffic-free muddy strips of earth”.
The Metropolitan Police have also advised motorists to avoid the Lambeth area of Central London, where the new crossover point of the rerouted motorway was dumped, resulting in widespread congestion throughout the City.
Chief Superintendent Matt Bell, head of Lambeth police, issued a stern warning for those responsible. “I’m confident that we will catch the culprits - and if proves that their recklessness has been a contributing factor in the 892 road traffic accidents reported in the borough overnight - then those found guilty can be sure of receiving a hefty fine, possibly even several hours of community service”.
When asked how the investigation was progressing, Mr. Bell replied: “Due to the significant number of traffic cones that have also gone missing, we are initially concentrating our efforts on enquiries into students who have ready access to heavy plant machinery”.
Further adding to commuter’s woes, all rail services in and out of London Waterloo have also been suspended, as both the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and the Dartford Tunnel had been carelessly discarded and left draped over the lines.
However, the M25’s new figure-of-eight configuration has won some admirers, not least the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who declared himself a fan of the new layout, which he described as, “a refreshing change, that’s sure to ease the monotony of circumnavigating London”.
“Personally, I think that both the Highways Agency and the Met are completely overreacting”, said Mr. Johnson. “This is nothing more than the results of a harmless jape, not dissimilar to the sort of high jinx that I’d get up to in my youth, following a Bullingdon Club dinner”. Although, critics of Mr. Johnson have suggested that his favourable view of these, “unofficial road works”, may have been unduly influenced by the sudden and sharp rise in Congestion Charge revenue over the past 12-hours.