Watch video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw
Work to remove a 15-mile long contraflow system from one of Kent’s main motorways has been completed.
Operation Brock has involved a concrete barrier dividing the London-bound M20 between junctions 8 and 9, to allow coastbound lorries to be separated from other traffic.
It’s been in place since December 2020, in anticipation of expected disruption at the ports at the end of the Brexit transition period.
Road works to restore normal traffic flow took place on Saturday evening, with the final job of pushing the moveable concrete barrier to the side of the road due to be completed by 6am on Monday (26 April).
Richard Lavender, president of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, thinks the system has worked “exceptionally well both for the businesses of Kent and the traffic heading for the rest of the UK”.
He added: “The M20 is the main route to Europe and therefore irrespective of whether we use the A2 and the M2 this part of the M20 is so important to the import and export of the UK goods.”
Once removed, the moveable barrier will sit along the M20 should the contraflow need to be reintroduced in the future.
The barrier enabled the steady flow of freight into Eurotunnel and Port of Dover, and ensured the continued movement of goods and services across the country with minimal fuss at a critical time.
Ashford MP Damian Green (Con) told ITV News Meridian: “The alternative to what we’ve had was the old Operation Stack which was terrible. It was a very, very bad idea that you close the motorway. And now we have a permanent system, that’s been tested under pressure, that seems to work… and could be put back quite quickly.”
Police and council officials say they will continue to monitor traffic levels closely to ensure any issues are addressed.