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Dover TAP implemented on A20 at Aycliffe and delays on M20 as lorries head for Eurotunnel and Port of Dover due to Christmas, coronavirus and stockpiling

Kent's roads once again are beginning to resemble a lorry park as drivers queue to access the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

There are big queues at Dover and Eurotunnel for the second day running which have been put down to the pre-Christmas rush, stockpiling and coronavirus vaccine delivery.

Lorries queue at Dover as delays grow Picture: Barry Goodwin
Lorries queue at Dover as delays grow Picture: Barry Goodwin

Dover TAP, short for Traffic Assessment Project, was implemented on the coastbound A20 at Aycliffe due to high volumes of freight heading towards the port yesterday for the fourth time in two weeks and is once again in place today.

Kent County Council highways announced at 6.30am: "The Dover Traffic Access Protocol scheme on the A20 at Aycliffe has been implemented due to heavy freight volumes. This is to prevent Portbound traffic from disrupting the local road network and the A20 through Dover town."

It means a 40mph speed restriction will apply to all vehicles approaching Dover from the west via the A20.

When traffic reaches high volumes vehicles will be held at temporary traffic lights until space becomes available.

In addition lay-bys in the area will be closed, as will be the coastbound on slip at the Courtwood junction on occasion.

Lorries queue at Eurotunnel Picture: Barry Goodwin
Lorries queue at Eurotunnel Picture: Barry Goodwin

There are also delays on the M20 coastbound between junctions 11 and 11a due to high volumes of freight traffic heading towards Eurotunnel.

The slip-road onto the M20 coastbound from the A20 at Junction 11 has been closed as a result.

In Dover, Court Wood Interchange slip road onto the A20 and the A20 Coastbound between the junctions with the M20 (J13) and the A260 have also been closed to prevent queuing at the Round Hill Tunnel.

Diverted motorists are being asked to exit the M20 at junction 13 and take the A259 Churchill Avenue, heading east to theA260 Canterbury Road roundabout and then take the first exit on to the A260 Canterbury Road and heading north.

At the Spitfire Way roundabout they are then asked to take the third exit on to the A20 eastbound.

Dover TAP is the first of five stages comprising Operation Brock, designed to maintain traffic flow in the county during busy freight periods.

Lorries queue at the Port of Dover Picture: Barry Goodwin
Lorries queue at the Port of Dover Picture: Barry Goodwin

In the full Operation Brock, Dover TAP will be succeeded by the M20 J8-9 contraflow system - in which lorries would use the eastbound carriageway as a holding station.

Port of Dover tweeted to confirm there was major disruption approaching the port and medium queues at Calais.

Yesterday was the fourth time in two weeks such queues have mounted, with the other incidents due to Brexit preparations.

But Eurotunnel has said today's delays are in fact due to Christmas but that "stockpiling" is also playing a role.

A spokesman said: "Wednesday is always one of the busiest days of the week.

"It is the sheer volume of traffic from stockpiling, pre-Christmas build up, transporting medical supplies and vaccines for Covid care.

"It seems more visible this year as there is also reduced ferry capacity out of Dover/Calais compared to previous years, so more traffic wants to use the Tunnel.

"However, the Tunnel is operating with up to six departures per hour and goods are moving through rapidly.

"There is currently heavy traffic in both directions and the situation is similar at all UK ports."

At Felixstowe 1.5 million Brompton bike components are "stock on the water" awaiting unloading due to delays, with the manufacturer struggling to meet demand as a result.

The M20 was shut until 5am after a van driver was killed in a crash with a lorry.

For four days from Friday the M20 will shut to allow for Operation Brock preparation works.

The government has warned a "reasonable worst case scenario" for Brexit would see 7,000 HGVs queueing on the counties roads.

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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