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Operation Brock being deployed in Kent as country's Covid restrictions removed


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Kent will once again face the disruption of Operation Brock as the county prepares for Monday's lockdown lifting.

Highways England confirmed today that the traffic mitigation scheme - including the moveable barrier on the M20 between Ashford and Maidstone - will be in place from Sunday.

Part of Operation Brock is the moveable barrier on the M20, which consists of 14,000 concrete blocks Picture: Barry Goodwin
Part of Operation Brock is the moveable barrier on the M20, which consists of 14,000 concrete blocks Picture: Barry Goodwin

The unpopular contraflow system, which features narrow lanes and a 50mph limit, was removed over two nights in April.

But three months on the government and Kent Resilience Forum partners have made the decision in anticipation of increased international travel by car drivers from Monday as a result of the lifting of Covid restrictions.

To ensure safe deployment of the contraflow, as well as reducing disruption, the M20 will close at 8pm on Saturday night between junctions 7 and 9, with both carriageways set to reopen by 8am on Sunday with the contraflow active.

The contraflow system will once again see an available lane for queuing lorries on their way to the Port of Dover or Folkestone's Eurotunnel.

As international tourism becomes unlocked on Monday, a flood of coastbound traffic is anticipated Picture: Barry Goodwin
As international tourism becomes unlocked on Monday, a flood of coastbound traffic is anticipated Picture: Barry Goodwin

Nicola Bell, Highways England regional director, said: “The lifting of the lockdown restrictions will inevitably mean more travel across to France from July 19 and we, along with our Kent Resilience Forum partners, have taken the decision to reinstall the moveable barrier on the M20 to prepare for this.

"We know that some people won’t welcome its return, but we need to be prepared for an increase in not only HGVs but also in passenger traffic.

"We feel it is the right decision to redeploy the barrier in case it is needed to keep Kent moving should levels of HGVs and cars heading to the border be high.

Operation Brock will be back from Sunday Picture: Barry Goodwin
Operation Brock will be back from Sunday Picture: Barry Goodwin

"The deployment of the barrier on the M20 will of course be kept under constant review and we will remove it as soon as we can.”

Furthermore, the A20 Roundhill Tunnel near Folkestone will also be closed overnight from 11pm on Saturday until 5am on Sunday for an emergency safety exercise. Signed diversions will be in place.

Lorry drivers are being advised to be aware of signs highlighting whether to stay on the coastbound carriageway or to enter the contraflow.

All cars and motorbikes should enter the contraflow.

Avoid getting stuck on Kent's roads by keeping up-to-date on all of the latest traffic and travel news here or by following our live blog.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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