The M20 between Hollingbourne and Ashford is currently closed overnight on the London bound side for the installation of a steel barrier which will allow traffic to move in both directions. The work for Operation Brock is between 8pm and 6am and is ongoing until 11th March. Operation Brock is the scheme by which some 2000 lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Eurotunnel can be parked after the UK leaves the Customs Union if Brexit actually happens at 11am on 29th March.
Work has started at the Ashford end and London bound traffic is now restricted to the former hard shoulder and the nearside lane with a speed limit of 50mph. The two outside lanes which will be for coast bound traffic are currently unused. Traffic continues to use the normal coastbound side which will become a giant lorry park. The reason for the lorry park is because it is anticipated that Customs clearance times will increase from an average of 2 minutes to 20-30 minutes which will cause major tailbacks. Manston Airport and the M26 may also be used to store lorries.
In the event of accidents on the two narrow lane sections it is possible that traffic will be diverted on to the A20. At the time of writing the steel barrier is yet to reach Hollingbourne.
Over 10,000 lorries a day carrying some 17% of the UK’s international trade in goods use Dover with a further 6000 using Eurotunnel which represent another 13% of trade. Most of this passes through Hollingbourne by road or rail.
Pictured below is the M20 just outside Ashford (top and middle) and bottom is the A20 in Hollingbourne where it is crossed by the M20 and Channel Tunnel Rail Link.