The Operation Brock moveable barrier system on the M20 in Kent will be deployed tonight (Monday 21 March) as a precaution due to reduced ferry capacity at the Port of Dover, Kent Resilience Forum confirmed today.
There is sufficient capacity to accommodate displaced P&O freight, but to minimise disruption the Kent Resilience Forum has taken the decision to activate Operation Brock to ensure the smooth flow of traffic through Kent.
Operation Brock is part of a series of measures to improve Kent’s resilience in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel. To ensure safe deployment of the contraflow system, the M20 will close at 8pm tonight, between junctions 8 and 9, with both carriageways set to reopen by 6am on Tuesday 22 March with the contraflow active. These times have been chosen to minimise disruption to road users.
This is a precautionary measure in response to the ongoing reduced ferry capacity at the Port of Dover.
As with previous deployments, Operation Brock will keep the M20 open in both directions by using a contraflow road layout on the M20 London-bound carriageway between junctions 8 and 9 (from Maidstone to Ashford) and directing lorries heading for mainland Europe onto the coastbound carriageway, where they can be queued if necessary.
Once the barrier is in place, the road will reopen in its new configuration, with HGVs and other freight heading for the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel using the coastbound carriageway on the M20, where it will be queued if necessary. All other traffic – including local freight and car drivers headed for the continent – should follow the signs and cross over to enter the contraflow on the M20 London bound carriageway.
Drivers should look out for signs directing them to either stay on the coastbound carriageway or to enter the contraflow. All cars and motorbikes should enter the contraflow.
A fully signed diversion route will be place while the M20 is closed overnight.
About Operation Brock
Operation Brock is part of a series of measures which crucially keeps the M20 open in both directions using a contraflow system.
When Operation Brock is in force it is a legal requirement to use the signed routes only for HGV journeys to Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
The barrier is deployed using two specialist machines, and over 14,000 tonnes of concrete blocks will be moved into place in just a few hours, together with more than 8,000 cones.
For more information on Operation Brock and other travel advice visit:
KRF Strategic Planning Lead, Kent County Council Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport Simon Jones, said: “Given the ongoing suspension of P&O services, KRF partners have agreed to implement the Brock contraflow.
“Collectively, we believe this is best way to protect local communities, keep Kent and goods moving as smoothly as possible and give people the opportunity to reach their destination quickly and safely.
“We are committed to keeping the deployment of the barrier under constant review and removing it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I would like to thank everyone for their patience during this time.”
Nicola Bell, Highways England Regional Director, said: “Ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in Kent is a top priority and along with our Kent Resilience Forum partners believe Operation Brock to be the best way to allow the local communities and businesses to go about their daily business with minimal disruption.
“We’ve seen in the past how the moveable barrier on the M20 works well, enabling the steady flow of freight into Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover whist ensuring motorists can get to where they need to with minimum fuss, whatever the circumstances. I would urge hauliers to follow the signs on the M20 and stick to the official route.”