The steel barrier on the London bound side of the M20 between Junction 9 at Ashford and Junction 8 in Hollingbourne has now been installed. The project should be complete when arrangements are put in place on the Junction 7 side of Junction 8 for splitting coastbound traffic between local traffic exiting the M20 at Junction 8, Channel freight lorries to be stored on the coastbound side between Junction 8 and 9, and other traffic which will cross the central reservation and go down the two lane outside section of the London bound side. All London bound traffic will use the inside lane and the hard shoulder which has been specially strengthened.
Some local residents have complained that they have been disturbed by the work which has been done during the night when the M20 London bound has been closed.
This £26 million Operation Brock project over a 13 mile stretch of the M20 is due to be completed by 11th March in time for Brexit on 29th March when the UK will currently leave the EU Customs Union. Some 17,000 lorries a day presently cross the Channel via Dover and Eurotunnel and most pass through the Hollingbourne section of the M20. If and when the UK leaves the Customs Union, the Customs clearance time will increase from an average of 2 minutes to 20-30 minutes with the strong possibility of major queues both sides of the Channel. Kent is providing some 10,000+ parking spaces for waiting lorries including 2000 on the M20 at Hollingbourne, plus additional spaces at Manston airport, and on the M26. The Government has expressed concern that many businesses are not prepared for the new arrangements or the tariffs which may be imposed.
The Highways Agency has advised that no facilities will be provided for the lorry drivers who may be stuck on the M20 and the arrangements for recovering vehicles and emergency access on the London bound side which will carry traffic in both directions is unclear. It is anticipated that any accidents will cause traffic to be diverted to the A20 which may result in local traffic problems.
Pictured below is the M20 looking towards Junction 8 at Hollingbourne with the steel barrier installed.