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Eurotunnel Strike Ends but M20 Closure Continues to Cause Traffic Chaos

The last-minute strike by French Eurotunnel staff, which resulted in the suspension of Eurostar and LeShuttle services and widespread travel disruptions, has been called off following a resolution between Eurotunnel management and trade union representatives. Despite the end of the industrial action, significant travel disruption continues, particularly with the ongoing closure of a 15-mile section of the M20 motorway.

The terminals, which had been shut since midday owing to the strike, are set to gradually resume LeShuttle services this evening. An agreement reached between the involved parties promises to bring some relief to the numerous travellers affected by the strike. A spokesperson for Eurotunnel expressed relief at the resolution and extended apologies to all those impacted by the strike, including LeShuttle customers, Eurostar passengers, and rail freight operators.

However, thousands of travellers still face considerable disruption in their Christmas getaway plans. The coastbound carriageway of the M20 between Junctions 8 and 9 remains closed, allowing freight bound for the continent to queue and minimize disruption to Kent’s wider road network. Operation Brock Zero has also been implemented between these junctions, directing all freight traffic wishing to cross the Channel to join this operation while non-freight traffic is diverted along the A20 to Ashford.

The disruption has had a significant impact on holiday travellers. Some passengers found themselves stranded outside the Channel Tunnel, while others had their trains rerouted back to their point of origin. The frustration was palpable among travellers, with many taking to social media to express their dismay and inconvenience.

Eurostar, in a statement, recommended that customers postpone their journey if possible and confirmed that those affected would receive direct communication about their travel plans. They also pledged to closely monitor the situation and provide updates as soon as possible.

The strike action, reportedly over an end-of-year bonus dispute, highlights the fragility of travel infrastructure and the far-reaching effects of industrial action. While rail services are set to resume, the closure of the M20 continues to pose challenges for travellers, with additional measures like extra ferries being arranged to alleviate the situation. However, officials at the Port of Dover warn of expected delays, adding another layer of complexity to the travel woes.

This ongoing situation serves as a reminder of the need for effective communication and contingency planning in the face of unforeseen disruptions, especially during peak travel periods like the Christmas season.

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