Operation Brock barriers re-deployed in Kent

Controversial barriers installed on the M20 in Kent to help the flow of traffic to and from the continent, have been re-deployed this weekend.

Operation Brock will come into force on Monday, as the lockdown restrictions ease and foreign travel becomes easier.

The system was initially designed in the event of a no-deal Brexit plan, and removed in April, but will return to help the flow of heavy traffic expected due to the school holidays and an expected increase in holidaymakers.

Concrete barriers are rolled out as part of Operation Brock

The concrete barriers allow lorries heading to the Port of Dover to use one side of the M20. All other traffic is restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite side.

The barriers, covering a 16-mile stretch of the M20 between Maidstone and Ashford, were re-installed on Saturday night.

M20: Operation Brock

What is Operation Brock?

Operation Brock is part of a series of measures which keeps the M20 open in both directions using a contraflow system.

When Operation Brock is in force it is a legal requirement to use the signed routes only for HGV journeys to Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.

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How does Operation Brock work?

The barrier between Junctions 7 and 9 of the M20 is deployed using two specialist machines, and over 14,000 tonnes of concrete blocks will be moved into place in just a few hours, together with more than 8,000 cones.

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What does it mean for my journey?

If the contraflow is ‘in’ you can still use the M20, but you should allow more time for your journey. Because it’s a contraflow and the road layout is different, a speed limit of 50 mph will be in place.

If you’re not going to the ports but travelling within Kent, you need to get into the correct lane and drive through the temporary lane layout within the speed limit.

If you’re travelling to the ports or the Eurotunnel when the contraflow is in, you may want to think about making your journey as it means there’s disruption across the channel. Please and check with your ferry or train operator to see if you should travel. If you go ahead with your journey, once you get to junction 8 on the M20 you’ll need to join the correct lane where you’ll be held as we’ll be managing the flow of traffic into the ports.

If you’re coming into the UK and using the M20, between junctions 9 and 8 you’ll use the two-way contraflow system on the London-bound carriageway. A 50mph speed limit will be in place. Signs will guide you into the contraflow at junction 9 and out at junction 8.

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Operation Brock has not been popular with local residents, many of whom are angry that it is being re-instated as a precautionary measure, without evidence that there will be a large increase in motorway traffic.

Nicola Bell, Regional Director of Highways England, said they had taken the decision along with their Kent Resilience Forum partners:

Kent County Council's highways director Simon Jones said: "We believe that this is the right thing to give people the best opportunity to reach their destination quickly and safely.

"Passengers who plan to travel through Kent are being warned to prepare for longer journeys.