Published: 11:18, 22 March 2019
| Updated: 19:29, 22 March 2019
Road chiefs have confirmed a plan for a contraflow system along the M20 will be in place from Monday as part of Brexit contingency plans.
Highways England says Operation Brock will be ready for use from next week as reported by KentOnline yesterday.
Operation Brock queues lorries bound for mainland Europe on the coastbound M20 and uses a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway to enable other traffic to travel in both directions.
It comes as the EU confirmed last night it would extend the day Britain leaves the EU beyond March 29.
This will be either to May 22 if the Prime Minister's Brexit deal is passed to allow for the bill to be passed through Parliament.
Alternatively the deadline will be extended until April 12 in the event the withdrawal agreement is voted down for a third time, leaving open the prospect of leaving with no deal.
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins said: "The thinking behind this was that if there was a situation where the UK left the EU without a deal, there could be disruption.
"For Operation Brock to work, it has to be up and ready. I understand that it will inconvenience people but it is a much better solution than Operation Stack."
He said that despite a new timetable for Brexit that has been agreed by the EU, activating the contraflow was a sensible precautionary measure as there remained a possibility that the original date for departure from the EU could still happen.
The M20 contraflow is planned to be in place from 6am on Monday.
There will be roadworks on the M20 and M26 over the weekend and into next week as the final preparations and adjustments are made.
Highways England project director John Kerner said: “Since Operation Stack’s 32-day deployment in summer 2015 we have been working tirelessly with our partners across Kent to make the county more resilient to disruption than ever before.
"Operation Brock strengthens this resilience even further and offers a safe, scalable response to disruption that can be used to queue up to 11,000 lorries heading for mainland Europe, while keeping other traffic flowing for people living, working and travelling in and around Kent.”
From Monday the M20 contraflow will be in effect from north of junction 8 for Maidstone to junction 9 at Ashford.
Lorries heading for mainland Europe will be routed down the coastbound carriageway, with a 30mph speed limit in place.
All other traffic will be directed onto the London-bound carriageway, with two lanes in each direction operating at 50mph.