2019 is not the first time that the Government has reneged on plans to resurface the M20 between Junction 8 and 9 with a quieter surface.

Since the M20 between Junction 8 in Hollingbourne and Junction 9 in Ashford was opened in 1991 there have been constant complaints about the traffic noise from the ribbed concrete surface creates a lot of noise. In 2000 the Department of Transport promised to resurface the 13 mile road with porous asphalt at a cost of £750,000 per mile which would have cost around £10 million for the 13 mile section. The scheme was dropped in 2006 and member of Hollingbourne and Harrietsham Parish Councils met with the Highways Agency in London in April 2007 to complain without success.

Then earlier this year Highways England promised to resurface the coastbound side of the M20 following complaints from Hollingbourne residents on the A20/Ashford Road where the £26 million Operation Brock contraflow system has been installed. Hollingbourne Parish Council understand that Highways England have reneged on their promise.

On the assumption that the UK leaves the EU Customs Union on the Brexit date of 31st October 2019, the then coastbound side will be used for storing 2000 lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Eurotunnel. No facilities will be provided for the waiting drivers according to Highways England.

The London bound side has been turned into a contraflow system with no refuges and the scheme was considered too dangerous when it was first mooted in 2015 at the time of Operation Stack. There is a 50mph limit in the contraflow system which does not prevent regular accidents and hundreds of drivers each month are fined for speeding. It is understood that it has not been able to impose the standard £100 fine on foreign drivers because of difficulties in tracing them.

Successive local MP’s have all promised action and nothing has happened apart from a lot of correspondence and occasional meetings.

Pictured below is the M20 during an Operation Brock test run in March 2019 (top), a letter from Highways England promising action in 2019 (middle), and an article in The Times of 10th February 2006 summarising the story from 2000 to 2006 (bottom).

The M20 looking coastbound with the lorry storage area on the left and the contraflow system on the right. Highways England have no plans to install facilities for the 2000 lorry drivers who could be parked here.
February 2019 letter sent to Ashford Road residents announcing the retexturing of the M20 to reduce surface noise.
The Times 10th February 2006 – Article about the M20 resurfacing.