The removal of the barrier, which starts on Monday (13 January) is good news for drivers. It means that three full width lanes at the national speed limit will soon be restored on the London-bound M20 at the end of the month.
The barrier has been in place on a 15-mile section of the M20 between junctions 8 (for Maidstone) and 9 (at Ashford) since March 2019, reflecting the risk of potential traffic disruption during this period. Now that the risk has lowered, Highways England has agreed with the Kent Resilience Forum and the Department for Transport it is the right time to take the barrier down.
Highways England project director Nicky Potts said:?
“Removing the Operation Brock barrier is good news for drivers and the people of Kent and reflects the decreased risk of disruption to cross-channel services in the coming months.??
“Operation Brock has provided people?living, working and travelling in and around?Kent with a scalable set of measures to help?limit the impact?to?the county in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel.??
“We are grateful for people’s patience?while the barrier has been in?place, and?are looking forward to restoring the motorway to full capacity.”??
The work to remove the barrier will start with a full closure of the M20 in both directions on Monday 13 January between junctions 9 and 7 from 8pm until 6am on Tuesday 14 January.
From 8pm on Tuesday 14 January, the London-bound carriageway of the M20 will be closed between junctions 9 and 7 from 8pm until 6am every night for a further 15 nights. Work is being carefully planned to limit any disruption, with all work being carried out overnight.
There will also be lane restrictions on short sections of the coastbound carriageway near junction 9 (for Ashford) and 8 (for Maidstone) while gaps in the central reservation that were used as crossover points during Operation Brock will be reinstated. At these locations, lane 3 will be closed for safety reasons until the work to lift the barrier is finished, with a reduced 50mph speed limit in lanes 1 and 2.
Around 1500 metres of barrier will be taken off each night, with road markings repainted and gaps in the central reservation barrier closed.
The final overnight closure is planned for Tuesday 28 January, where the coastbound carriageway will be closed while the remaining restrictions are removed. All work is expected to be complete, with all restrictions removed, by Saturday 1 February at the latest.
Clearly signed diversion routes will be in place on the A20 to help road users reach their destination. The diversion routes are as follows:
- Junction 9 to 7 London bound diversion route:?Traffic will be diverted from junction 9, towards the A20 Maidstone, then onto the A249 towards the motorway to re-join the M20 at junction 7. Vehicles over 4.7m height need to follow a different route which is to turn around at junction 9 to re-join the M20 towards Dover, then follow the A20 towards Dover, then the A2 towards Canterbury. Drivers then need to join the M2 towards London, exiting the motorway at junction 7 onto the A249 towards Maidstone, to re-join the M20 at junction 7.
- Junction 9 to 8 London bound diversion route: Traffic will be diverted from junction 9 towards the A20 Maidstone, then re-join the M20 motorway at junction 8. Vehicles over 4.7m height need to follow a different route which is to turn around at junction 9 to re-join the M20 towards Dover, then the A20 heading for Dover, then follow the A2 towards Canterbury, then the M2 London, exiting the motorway at junction 7 onto the A249 towards Maidstone to re-join the M20 motorway at junction 7 and head back towards junction 8.
- Junction 8 to 7 London bound diversion route: Traffic will be diverted from junction 8, heading towards the A20 Maidstone, then onto A249 towards the motorway to re-join the M20 at junction 7.
- Junction 7 to 9 coast bound diversion route: Traffic will be diverted from junction 7, heading towards the A249 Canterbury, then follow the M2 Dover, then A2 Dover, then the A20 London which re-joins the M20.
More information about Operation Brock is available at: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/OperationBrock/