Freight News, Road

Brock slinks away

[ January 10, 2020   //   ]

Like the shy and secretive badger after which it is named, the infrastructure put in place for the Operation Brock scheme to keep traffic flowing on Kent’s motorways has proved to be an elusive beast.

A few months after the steel barrier on the London-bound carriageway of the M20 was completed in March 2019 – at a cost of many millions of pounds and months of tedious speed restrictions for drivers on one of the country’s busiest roads – Highways England announced that the 15 mile long barrier was not needed after all because the risk of post-Brexit disruption had been reduced.

Highways England has agreed with the Kent Resilience Forum and the Department for Transport it is the right time to take the barrier down.

The Freight Transport Association welcomed the move but seemed unconvinced that the threat of Brexit-related disruption had gone for good. Policy Manager for the South East, Heidi Skinner, commented: “FTA welcomes the removal of the Operation Brock barriers and calls on government to develop a permanent solution to Operation Stack which can effectively manage freight traffic during cross Channel disruptions. In the view of our members, it is crucial for all logistics vehicles to be ‘border-ready’ before entering Kent to avoid additional delays. And, until the threat of a No Deal Brexit is completely off the table, FTA is still advising its members to make all necessary preparations to ensure the industry can keep Britain trading.”

As a final sting in the tail, 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. 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 are reinstated.