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M20 overnight closures in place

Highways bosses have pledged motorists should not see a repeat of huge delays as overnight closures are now in force on the M20.

Stretches of the M20 are now shut between Ashford and Hythe, and in Malling.

Work to turn the M20 into a Smart Motorway between junction 5 (Aylesford) and junction 4 (Leybourne) Picture: Andy Jones
Work to turn the M20 into a Smart Motorway between junction 5 (Aylesford) and junction 4 (Leybourne) Picture: Andy Jones

On Monday morning, overruning works caused snarl ups between junction 7 (Maidstone) and Junction 4 (Leybourne) when road closures were not lifted at the designated time. Surrounding roads, including the A249, also experienced lengthy delays.

Tonight, several stretches are shut until 6am.

They are the coastbound side from junctions 9 (Ashford) to 11 (Hythe and Canterbury) for resurfacing.

The motorway is also closed between junctions 2 (Wrotham) and 4 (Leybourne/West Malling) as part of the upgrade to turn a section into Smart Motorway, where the hard shoulder becomes a permanent lane for traffic.

The M26 is also closed coastbound from junction 2a (Wrotham/Borough Green) where it meets the M20 at junction 3.

These are due to lift at 6am tomorrow.

A Highways England spokesman said: "Work is going well as planned, and we aren’t anticipating any delays in lifting current restrictions."

Speaking of last week's chaos, they added: "We apologised to drivers who were held up on Monday morning, March 2, because of the overrunning roadworks on the M20.

"We only close motorways when it's absolutely essential and for as short a time as possible. As soon as we knew the roadworks were set to overrun we did everything we could to get the lanes reopen, and we are working with the parties involved to ensure that the reasons behind it are understood and to avoid this happening again."

The spokesman said last week's work was complicated by overnight rain, adding: "Halting the work wasn't an option as this would have been a safety hazard to the travelling public."

Highways England is converting a 6.5mile section of the M20 between Junction 3 for the M26/Borough Green and Junction 5 for Aylesford. The £92 million scheme is subject to a government review after campaigners raised safety fears.

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