Relocation of Operation Brock barrier to cause months of disruption on M20 in Kent

The barrier can be installed on the motorway as part of measures to keep traffic moving on M20. Credit: Highways England

Drivers could face months of delays and disruption as work begins to relocate a barrier on the M20 between Ashford and Maidstone.

The Brock Barrier, a concrete moveable structure, was installed as part of Brexit measures to deal with potential traffic jams in the event of a no deal.

It's part of a contra flow system, to cope with potential delays across the Channel.

After almost one and a half years on the hard shoulder, National Highways wants to move the barrier from the central reservation to the hard shoulder. 

National Highways will be upgrading drainage and carrying out ground work, so the movable barrier can be stored. Signage will also be installed in the central reservation and London-bound verge to move the Brock barrier.

The barrier is being kept on the motorway for traffic management after fears of major congestion on the M20, in anticipation of a no deal Brexit, didn't materialize.

Some people have expressed fears it will cause months of delays.

Heidi Skinner, Logistics UK said: "We need see as little disruption as possible to the M20, so we're waiting for more details on the timings. But we want anything that causes the least amount of delays and congestion, so that freight needs to be moving down this corridor to access credit, but also to get into the EU."

Concrete barriers are rolled out as part of Operation Brock

Overnight work between junction 8 near (Maidstone) and junction 9 (Ashford) will begin overnight on Friday 28 January and is expected to continue until October. A 50 mile per hour speed limit will also be in place.

National Highways said: "Storing the moveable barrier on the M20 London-bound hard shoulder was only a temporary measure. We are about to start work to move it onto the central reservation, its permanent home, which will allow the hard shoulder between Ashford and Maidstone to be re-instated to its original width."

Those who live along this stretch of the motorway are calling for other improvements to be carried out at the same time.

Cllr Paul Bartlett, Kent County Council, Con said: "I welcome the safety work, but what I'd like them to do at the same time, is deliver on their promise to resurface the M20 between Ashford and Maidstone and this was promised for financial year 2021/22, the current year, and they haven't yet indicated when they're going to start the work."

Cllr Paul Bartlett, Kent County Council, Con

Overnight closures

The M20 will be closed in both directions between junctions 9 and 8 from 8pm on Friday 28 January 2022 to 6am on Saturday 29 January 2022.

When the road is closed overnight, a signed diversion route, will be in place along the A20.

Over-height vehicles should use the A2, M2 and A249.

Lane closures

From Saturday 29 January 2022 lane closures will be needed between junctions 8 and 9 on both the London-bound and coastbound carriageways for around 40 weeks.

The outside two lanes will be closed on the London-bound carriageway, using the moveable barrier.

Work will start at junction 9 and National Highways will then extend the barrier towards junction 8. The barrier will increase in length as the work progresses. The hard shoulder will be in use, so there will be two lanes running London-bound, and a 50-mph speed restriction will be in place when the lanes are closed.

The outside lane of the coastbound carriageway will be closed using cones when work is taking place. Where the outside lane is closed, there will be a 50-mph speed limit in place.