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M20 Operation Brock Brexit motorway plan comes to an end

By William Janes

The Operation Brock contraflow system has been removed, but drivers will still have to put up with a 50mph speed limit on some parts of the M20.

As of 5am this morning, three coastbound lanes of the motorway were returned to 70mph while the restriction is being kept on two lanes travelling in the opposite direction.

Highways England is keeping some of the measures, as well as the steel barrier, between Junctions 8 and 9, in case Operation Brock is needed in the coming weeks.

Work to remove the contraflow system began on Thursday.

Motorists have had to contend with Brock since March 28 when it was implemented to manage the traffic of goods vehicles across the English Channel following a possible no-deal Brexit.

Highways England special operations director Duncan Smith said:"I am pleased that we have been able to complete work to stand down the contraflow over the weekend and have these lanes reopened in time for the Monday morning peak. Completing this work now has added to the 99% of Highways England’s road network that is roadworks-free this Easter.

Operation Brock explained
Operation Brock explained

"Operation Brock gives the people of Kent a scalable set of measures that helps them to live, work and travel around the county when there is disruption to services across the English Channel.

"The deployment of the contraflow on the M20 has been a prudent measure reflecting the threat of potential disruption.

"Scaling it back now is a sensible response to the changing outlook, and restores capacity on the motorway in time for the Easter bank holiday weekend.

"I would like to reiterate my thanks to drivers and residents in Kent for their patience while the contraflow was in place and for driving safely.”

Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately said: "Calling off Operation Brock is a sensible decision.

"The closure of Junction 8 was causing considerable inconvenience to people living in places like Bearsted, Headcorn, Hollingbourne, Harrietsham and Lenham - and there was a big increase in traffic and noise on the Ashford Rd.

The contraflow system has now been removed
The contraflow system has now been removed

"I hope this will help with journeys around Easter, although I realise the fact that the barriers have to stay in place means there is still a risk of slower journeys.

"While the Brock contraflow system is much better than completely closing the motorway – it’s clearly not perfect.

"I’m pushing ministers and Highways England to keep Brock under review and make improvements, as well as pressing ahead with a permanent alternative."

The agency brought in 80 additional traffic officers to help with the project, costing around £9,600 each day to put them up.

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