Kent

Operation Brock: No-deal Brexit M20 plan to be stood down

Operation Brock Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Operation Brock sees one side of the M20 being used only by HGVs heading to cross-Channel ports

A plan to manage traffic congestion on a motorway in the event of a no-deal Brexit is to be stood down after coming into force on Monday morning.

Operation Brock in Kent sees one side of the M20 being used only by HGVs heading to cross-Channel ports.

All other traffic is restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite carriageway.

Work to deactivate the system between Maidstone and Ashford has begun, Highways England said.

The agency had previously said the contraflow takes about 48 hours to both activate and deactivate.

The decision by the Department of Transport to stand Operation Brock down comes following the agreement of a Brexit extension.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The government had hoped to prevent a repeat of Operation Stack, which shut the M20 in 2015

To make the changes, Highways England has closed the M20 between junctions seven and nine to coastbound traffic until 06:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Diversions are in place and Wednesday will see lanes on the coastbound M20 operating at national speed limit and two narrow lanes London-bound at 50mph.

This means Operation Brock can be activated again quickly if it is needed in the coming months, it added.

Operation Brock is designed to keep the M20 open in both directions in case there is disruption to services across the English Channel.

Lorries heading for Europe would be restricted to 30mph between junctions eight (Maidstone) and nine (Ashford) on the coastbound carriageway of the M20.

All other traffic on the motorway - including lorries carrying out UK deliveries - would use a 50mph contraflow of two lanes in each direction on the London-bound side of the road, while Operation Brock is in force.

The system was last put in place in March, four days ahead of the first planned Brexit date, but was deactivated three weeks later.

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