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Contraflow system unsafe way to tackle M20 chaos, say Highways Agency

Works on the coastbound carriageway in Kent were considered to help reduce congestion but it was found to present an unreasonable risk to road users

Plans to implement a temporary contraflow system on the M20 to ease Operation Stack has been discarded as unsafe for drivers.

Highways Agency have said: “We are continuing our work with the task force to urgently review what other measures could be put in place to minimise disruption to local communities and allow safe, prompt and orderly movement of freight to the Port of Dover or Channel Tunnel.”

The reasons why contraflow has been deemed unsafe for Kent motorists...

- Using freestanding cones – the quickest way to set up a contraflow - to separate lanes of traffic for a long stretch of a motorway would expose drivers to the risk of collision with oncoming traffic.

- Any incident within the contraflow would be difficult for emergency services to access and could cause severe and unpredictable delays.

- Because of the extent of the traffic management involved, a contraflow could not be easily switched on and off. This would delay the full re-opening of the motorway, or the contraflow would have to remain in place 24/7.

- Congestion would be experienced at the entry to the contraflow section and at all adjoining junctions with local roads. A contraflow would cause disruption on the London-bound M20.

- A contraflow would also reduce the flexibility of Operation Stack, reducing the space available for queuing HGVs.

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