‚Operation Stack’ has been implemented on the M20 due to delays caused by counter-terrorism police spot checks on vehicles at ports in Dover and Folkstone.
Police in Kent have confirmed that the vehicle checks have been concluded, however Operation Stack remains in place at the time of writing.
The policing operation at Kent ports has now concluded and border controls are returning to normality. We are working with our partners to manage the traffic congestion and Operation Stack remains in place while the backlog of freight is cleared. Thank you for your patience.
— Kent Police (UK) (@kent_police) September 16, 2020
As a consequence of Operation Stack, the M20 is currently closed eastbound/coastbound between J8 Maidstone and J9 Ashford.
#Kent please be aware the #M20 eastbound/coastbound is currently closed between J8 #Maidstone and J9 #Ashford due to the implementation of #OperationStack a diversion route is available via the #A20 please allow extra time for your journeys. pic.twitter.com/SzuPFDf2Sd
— Highways England (@HighwaysSEAST) September 16, 2020
This morning’s border checks also saw large queues form at the Port of Dover earlier, as seen on Twitter:
Operation Stack is a mechanism UK police can use to park or „stack” lorries on the motorway when there is disruption to services at crossings such as the Channel Tunnel or Port of Dover. The disruption could be a result of many things, including poor weather, industrial strikes, fire or extra security checks and border checks. In today’s case, it was the latter.
During Operation Stack, trucks are divided into two queues on each side of the carriageway (on the hard shoulder and lane 3). One is dedicated to traffic headed for the Channel Tunnel, while the other is for port traffic.
A gap is also created in the middle of the motorway so that emergency vehicles have access in the event of breakdowns or medical emergencies. Once the ports are ready, the queues are then released.
In reaction to the disruption, Highways England have published the following advice for drivers:
The closure is expected to remain in place throughout the day and there are no estimated times for normal operations to resume. Road users are advised to expect disruption and to allow extra journey time. The diversion route for non freight traffic is as follows;
Road users are advised to follow the hollow black circle diversion symbol on road signs. Exit the M20 at J8 and join the eastbound A20 towards Ashford. Remain on the A20 to re-join the M20 at J9. Road users are also advised to use the strategic diversion route via the M2 and A2 where possible.
Further incident information is available on our www.trafficengland.com website and travel apps. For urgent real time assistance, our 24/7 contact centre team is able to provide up to the minute information on 0300 123 5000.
Photocredit: Steve Fareham