With schools out for February half-term, and COVID travel restrictions further eased, Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) leaders are reminding local residents and people driving in or through Kent to always check their route before travelling.
The reminder comes after a busy January for Kent’s cross-Channel routes. Freight levels have quickly bounced back after the traditional festive lull, two ferries at Dover have been offline for their routine seasonal refits and additional new checks required at customs have combined to require the frequent use of traffic controls on the A20, which feeds the ferry terminal.
Requested by Port of Dover, and approved by National Highways, TAP20 has been used over 20 times so far this year to queue HGVs in the left lane as they make their way towards border crossing points. The scheme frees up the outside lane for local and through traffic not heading across the Channel and seeks to ensure that Dover town is kept free for local traffic.
The lifting today of more COVID travel restrictions in time for the start of the late winter school break will also contribute to Kent’s roads getting busy again.
Simon Jones, KRF Strategic Planning Lead, and Kent County Council’s Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport, said: “The Port of Dover and Eurotunnel make Kent a key gateway to Europe and our roads like the M20 and A20 are major strategic links.
“We’ve seen consistently busy freight levels in recent weeks and with all testing requirements now removed for fully vaccinated passengers arriving into the UK, tourist traffic will also continue to recover.
“It means anyone planning to use Kent’s roads should always be prepared for journeys to be longer than expected and to stay in touch with the latest traffic and travel information.”
Simple safe travel steps people can take ‘Every Single Journey’ include:
- CHECKING your route before you travel – for where to go for the latest traffic and travel updates in Kent visit Kent County Council’s Travel & Transport page here
- ALLOWING extra time to get to your destination – because traffic jams can happen anywhere
- PACKING your car with essentials – including food, water, any medication you need and supplies such as warm blankets in cold weather, and
- CHECKING your vehicle before you set off – most breakdowns are avoidable. For more information on how to check over your vehicle, including tyres, lights, fuel, oil and water, check out the National Highways’ website here
For more about Dover TAP click here
For updates on National Highways’ ongoing works to transfer the M20 moveable barrier from the hard shoulder to the central reservation between junctions 8-9:
- visit the National Highways website
- sign up to be kept informed via email: M20MoveableBarrier@highwaysengland.co.uk
- check the National Highways closure report which is updated daily with the latest information, and
- follow @HighwaysSEAST, National Highways Facebook page, and the traffic information pages here
National Highways says storing the barrier on the London-bound hard shoulder was a temporary measure and relocating it to a permanent position will restore the emergency lane between Ashford and Maidstone to its original width. It will also make the infrastructure easier to use.
The project involves extensive construction work along the 13-mile stretch of motorway, including upgrading drainage, signs and CCTV, and will be carried out in phases over 12 months.
National Highways has assured fellow members of the multi-agency KRF partnership that should the barrier be needed to create the Operation Brock contraflow at any time during this period it can easily be done.
National Highways will also operate a free recovery service between j8-9 to remove breakdowns swiftly and safely for the duration of the project.