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Operation Brock contraflow on M20 between Ashford and Maidstone to return for summer holidays

The Operation Brock contraflow between Ashford and Maidstone will return this weekend ahead of the summer holidays, highways bosses have confirmed.

It will be introduced on the M20 overnight on Sunday as high volumes of traffic are expected to head to the continent over July and August.

Brock means lorries can be queued on the coastbound carriageway if necessary. Pictures: Barry Goodwin
Brock means lorries can be queued on the coastbound carriageway if necessary. Pictures: Barry Goodwin

While Brock has been stood down over recent weeks, the 50mph limit and the concrete barrier have remained in place while roadworks to upgrade the central reservation to permanently house the barrier have continued.

These works, carried out by National Highways, will be suspended while the traffic management system is in place.

The altered road layout between Junctions 8 for Maidstone, and 9 for Ashford, is designed to reduce the impact of disruption across Kent by directing lorries heading to Europe onto the motorway’s coast-bound carriageway, where they can be queued if necessary, while all other traffic can continue in both directions.

It means lorries heading to the continent are legally required to follow the signed HGV routes to the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) strategic planning lead Simon Jones, said: “Port of Dover and Eurotunnel are both reporting high booking numbers through July and August, with an increase in tourist traffic from Friday, July 15, and Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24, set to be particularly busy, as tens of thousands of families head to Europe during the school holiday season.

Operation Brock will return this weekend. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Operation Brock will return this weekend. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“Combined with routine freight and local traffic, plus tourists travelling to our own great beaches and visitor attractions, we know Kent’s roads will be heavily used.

“KRF partners have agreed to implement Brock to ensure that if we need to step up managing EU-bound freight to protect local communities, keep Kent and goods moving as smoothly as possible and give people the opportunity to reach their destination quickly and safely over this period, we can quickly do so.”

Nicola Bell, National Highways regional director, said: “Along with our Kent Resilience Forum partners, we believe Operation Brock to be the best way to allow the local communities and businesses to go about their daily business with minimal disruption.

“We’ve seen in the past how the moveable barrier on the M20 works well, enabling the steady flow of freight into Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover while ensuring motorists can get to where they need to, whatever the circumstances.

“We are committed to keeping the deployment of the barrier under constant review and removing it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time and urge hauliers to follow the signs on the M20 and stick to the official route.”

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