MOTORISTS on the M5 at Weston and major A roads in the area are being warned of potential congestion later this week.

National Highways is advising drivers to plan ahead as Bristol Balloon Fiesta takes off.

It is urging people to allow extra time for their journeys as motorways and major A roads around Bristol are likely to be busy during the event between Thursday (August 10) and Sunday (August 13).

The festival can attract up to 100,000 people per day at the Ashton Court estate on the outskirts of the city.

The M5 at Junction 19 could be particularly busy during the event as southbound traffic will use the junction to access the A369 and the event site.

The M5 at Junction 21 will also see increased traffic as northbound traffic uses the A370 to travel to the fiesta, and traffic will also use the M32 to travel through Bristol to the event.

There are night glows, following the earlier mass ascents, on the Thursday and Saturday nights, starting at 9pm and finishing at 10pm.

On Friday and Sunday gates will close at 8.30pm.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed between 6pm and midnight on the Thursday and Saturday nights.

Kathryn Wiltshire, National Highways’ network planning officer for the South West, said: “We’re reminding road users to plan ahead during the balloon fiesta – roads leading to the event are likely to be very busy.

“Our aim is to keep the National Highways network running while keeping fiesta goers and other road users safe and informed.

"We advise people to check our traffic and travel information channels, set off early and allow plenty of time.”