Published: 18:19, 29 July 2021
| Updated: 20:15, 29 July 2021
Operation Brock on the M20 will be removed this weekend.
The unpopular contraflow, which features narrow lanes and a 50mph limit between Ashford and Maidstone, was introduced on Sunday, July 18 in anticipation of increased international travel as a result of Covid restrictions lifting.
Kent MP Damian Green welcomes removal of Op Brock
But leaders at Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) say the risk of disruption has now reduced following the start of the summer holidays and the barriers will be removed on Saturday night when the motorway will be closed to allow the removal to be completed.
The traffic mitigation scheme sees the coastbound side of the M20 used only by HGVs heading to the Channel ports, with all other traffic restricted to the dreaded contraflow on the London-bound carriageway.
The decision to take down the M20 barrier is based on passenger booking forecasts and reduced check-in times at border inspection points at the cross-Channel borders.
Kent Resilience Forum partners say they will continue to monitor the situation closely and will only redeploy the barrier should the data indicate a need.
The movable barrier is stored on the hard shoulder so it can quickly be brought in and out of use. It is designed to keep Kent moving and protect residents and businesses when periods of heavy traffic is forecast.
KCC’s Highways Director and KRF Strategic Planning Lead Simon Jones said: “After a problem-free week, we are pleased to be able to say that the barrier is coming down.
"But, as in April, it will be stored on the hard shoulder ready to return should the need arise.
"I can assure that whenever we put traffic management controls out there is a very good reason – and we will always do everything we can to quickly remove them as soon as they are no longer needed, as we are doing now.
“We are here to keep Kent moving as smoothly as possible, give people travelling the best opportunity to reach their destination safely and to protect those who live and work in Kent from disruption. Operation Brock is a key part of our plans to achieve this.”
Nicola Bell, Highways England Regional Director, said: “Along with our KRF partners, we feel it was the right decision to deploy the barrier to be ready for potential disruption in order to keep Kent moving.
"The flexibility of the barrier system means we can remove it and redeploy it at short notice in the event of any future Channel port disruption.
“We thank people for their patience while the moveable barrier has been in place and are looking forward to restoring the M20 to full capacity.”