The Leader of Kent County Council has welcomed the government announcement that the Operation Brock barrier, which has been in place on the M20 since March 2019, will now be removed.
The Government has announced it is standing down all contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit on 31 January.
Partners of the Kent Resilience Forum have agreed that the revised outlook for potential disruption from cross-channel disruption affecting the strategic road network has dropped to a level that the Operation Brock barrier could be removed.
Yesterday (Wednesday) ministers wrote to MPs in Kent with details of the timetable for its removal.
- The work 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 16 nights.
- 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
- All work will be carried out overnight, and it is expected that the work will be complete, with all restrictions removed, by Thursday 30 January
- Around 1.5km of barrier will be taken off each night, with road markings repainted and gaps in the central reservation barrier closed.
- The London-bound M20 will be closed each night, including weekend nights, between 8pm and 6am at the latest, with a fully signed diversion in place on the A20
Welcoming the news Leader of Kent County Council Roger Gough said “The news that Highways England intends to remove the Operation Brock barrier is very welcome news indeed for drivers and the people of Kent.
“Leaving the barrier and speed restrictions in place now that the government is standing down no-deal contingency planning for Brexit would have been met with exasperation and incomprehension by residents and road users.
“However, this highlights how we need to get back to finding lasting solutions for lorry parking, borders and any disruption in the Straits.
“There is a wider issue around frictionless trade and the need to have arrangements for border checks and customs that were closely aligned to the existing ones.
“Post Brexit there will still be a very large volume of trade between the UK and mainland Europe travelling through Dover and Folkestone.
“The County Council looks forward to working with Government and partners in the Kent Resilience Forum around the concept of ‘smart borders’ and how trade friction can be minimised.”