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Drivers suffer traffic holdups on the M20 and A20 at the Channel Tunnel, Folkestone and Dover

Drivers were ground to a halt last night as violent weather caused massive delays on the A20 and knock-on holdups.

The A20 between Dover Eastern Docks and the Court Wood roundabout were at a total standstill as high winds caused disruption to the ferry service.

Archive scene of Dover-bound traffic stuck along the A20. Picture: Paul Wells
Archive scene of Dover-bound traffic stuck along the A20. Picture: Paul Wells

Delays in the Channel Tunnel service also meant that lorries and cars bound for the Cheriton terminal were backed up onto the M20, closing one lane of the motorway.

Drivers using alternative roads through Folkestone suffered snarl-ups as well because too many others were trying the same routes.

The Port of Dover
The Port of Dover

KM reporter Tricia Jamieson was one of those caught up in the jams.

She said: “I was heading for just outside Dover, so turned off at Folkestone, but everyone was doing the same thing.

“We crawled all the way along Churchill Avenue past the Park Farm estate and the traffic did not really clear until we go to the Canterbury Road roundabout.

“A journey that should have taken me half-an-hour took over an hour.”

Warning matrix signs on the M20 and A20 told of delays ahead but some drivers felt a false sense of security by having clear routes on the M20 just after Channel Tunnel area.

Shortly before 7pm there were no delays in the Round Hill Tunnel area but the log jam occurred beyond the Court Wood roundabout near Capel-le-Ferne.

With no turnoff between Court Wood and the Western Heights roundabout local commuters were trapped helplessly between lorries heading for the port for as long as an hour.

More traffic chaos is feared tonight as experts predicts heavy rain and winds of more that 70mph.

The Met Office has issued four weather warnings from now until nearly midnight tomorrow including predictions of several centimetres of snow, ice on the roads, heavy rain and wind.

A band of gusty weather making its way across Britain from the Atlantic is set to hit us later today.

Kent is expected to feel the brunt of the storm later this evening, and the Highways Agency has warned drivers to be careful if travelling tonight.

Andrew Broughton, for the Highways Agency, said: “We’re expecting some high winds in particular as well as some rain as well so we’re working closely with the Met Office at the moment and continuing to monitor the conditions through the day.

“I would ask road users just to play their parts as well, just check the traffic conditions and weather forecasts before they set out and just to drive with extra care as well.

“We’ll always advise people just to allow a bit of extra time and drive to the conditions so if there’s a lot of spray just to slow down a little bit so they can maintain those stopping distances between the vehicles in front.

“Heading into tomorrow morning as well, particularly if it’s going to be dark, just leave more time and drive with caution because there may well have been trees that have come down.

“We’ll continue to work overnight and into tomorrow morning to do what we can to keep the roads open.”

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