Kent

Operation Brock: Kent gets £29m to make roads Brexit-ready

A traffic control system in place on the A256 as part of an Operation Brock trial in January Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A traffic control system in place on the A256 as part of an Operation Brock trial in January

Almost £29m has been granted to Kent County Council for infrastructure improvements ahead of Brexit day on 29 March.

Council transport boss Mike Whiting said the grant would make Kent's roads ready for the effects of a no-deal Brexit as part of Operation Brock.

Carriageway strengthening is the priority but £5m will go on improving the disused Manston Airport.

The grant is based on 10,500 lorries using the Port of Dover daily.

Mr Whiting said: "This is very much an insurance policy, if there is no deal we want Kent to be as prepared as possible.

"It's a very tight timetable - it's an enormous task."

Heidi Skinner at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said the funding was "welcome news".

She added: "A no-deal departure from the EU will present significant challenges, and this investment for the transport network will provide welcome protection for the vital link for the UK's trading relationships - 17% of the UK's trade goes through Dover.

"The transport infrastructure must be robust enough to meet the demands of the supply chain."

Operation Brock is set to provide:

  • A20 Tap holding location
  • M20 J8-J9 contraflow and HGV holding area
  • HGV holding area at Manston Airport
  • A256 holding area
  • M26 HGV holding area

Dover Tap (Traffic Assessment Project) controls traffic bound for the port by separating lorry drivers on the A20 into a queue on the left-hand lane.

Under Operation Brock, when the volume of traffic becomes too large, a section of the M20 would become a contraflow system on one side of the carriageway. Lorries would queue on the opposite carriageway.

Image copyright Gareth Fuller/PA
Image caption Lorries arrive at the Port of Dover for the trial

Road improvements will prioritise alternative routes used by HGVs when Tap and the Manston airfield options are deployed, such as the A299.

The A20 and A25 will be improved, ready for closures to the M26.

The A256 is also set to have a Tap in place, as per the Operation Brock trial run.

The £5m ring fenced for Manston will create a new access point and more hard standing areas.

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said it was working to "ensure that in the event of a no-deal, both local traffic and freight can continue to flow".

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