A local resident has contacted Highways England about the closure of M20 Junction 8 coast bound slip road at Hollingbourne since the start of Operation Brock on 25th March. He has been advised that the slip road will be closed indefinitely for Operation Brock which is the scheme to park 2000 lorries awaiting Customs at Dover and Eurotunnel on the coastbound side if and when the UK leaves the EU Customs Union after Brexit. The Lonndon bound side of the M20 has been turned in to a very narrow contraflow system fo 13 miles.
It is now necessary to drive up the M20 to Junction 7 in order to drive coastbound on the M20 from Hollingbourne. Since the start of Operation Brock there have been daily traffic incidents on the M20 and many are concerned about the safety of the road which has a 50mph speed limit. As and when there are traffic incidents, vehicles are diverted on to the already busy A20 which leads to further traffic issues on surrounding roads.
The approach to Junction 8 from London on the M20 is between a number of cones and signs which are designed to break vehicles up between local traffic leaving at Junction 8 in the nearside lane, lorries for the customs queue, and other coast bound traffic. Hollingbourne Parish Council has noted that a number of people have commented that the signs are confusing and not lit at night.
There are no facilities on the M20 for the lorry drivers awaiting Customs and no hard shoulders in the contraflow system. With no coastbound access from the Junction 8 Motorway Service Area, the previous Motorway Service Areas for vehicles approaching Hollingbourne are at Clackett Lane and at Thurrock. Both of these are on the M25.
Please see below for the response from Highways England.
Thank you for contacting Highways England on 31 March to ask how long the access at junction 8 coast-bound will be closed.
The M20 junction 8 coast-bound on-slip has been closed as part of Operation Brock. Brock will remain activated until further notice and will be kept under weekly review.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.
Programme Support Officer, Special Projects
Highways England | Bridge House | 1 Walnut Tree Close | Guildford | Surrey | GU1 4LZ
Meanwhile a large number of residents have written to local MP, Mrs Helen Whately about the Operation Stack and Brock problem. In a widely circulated letter she says “Highways England are working to identify a permanent solution. They’re conducting ecological surveys across the County to identify potential sites for a lorry park…..” Mrs Whately can be contacted at email@example.com
Pictured below is the M20 at Hollingbourne (top) and the A20 sign with the J8 closure message (bottom).