M20 to be closed for two weeks to remove no-deal Brexit barriers

A motorway in Kent is set to be closed for more than two weeks to remove a series of barriers introduced to alleviate traffic caused by a potential no-deal Brexit.

The M20 was closed overnight from 8pm onwards between junctions seven and nine and reopened at 6.00am on Tuesday as works began.

It will be closed at the same times for the next 15 days from Tuesday onwards with diversions in place.

The work will return the M20 to its normal state for the first time since Operation Brock was introduced.

On the first day of Operation 'Brock', (Brexit Operations Across Kent) trucks pass through a contraflow system being tested on one side of the M20 motorway near Hollingbourne, Kent, in south east England, Monday, March 25, 2019. The contraflow is designed to manage queues of trucks heading to Europe, via ferries or the Eurotunnel to France, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to prevent gridlock for other road users. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

"Operation Brock" came into force in Kent at 6am on Monday October 28, three days before the UK was due to withdraw from the EU.

But the government announced shortly before the October 31 deadline that the scheme will be ended "as soon as possible" after a further delay to Brexit was confirmed.

Lorries heading for Europe had faced a 30mph speed limit on a 13-mile stretch of the coastbound carriage of the M20 as part of Operation Brock.

On the first day of Operation 'Brock', (Brexit Operations Across Kent) traffic passes through a contraflow system being tested on one side of the M20 motorway near Ashford, Kent, in south east England, Monday, March 25, 2019. The contraflow is designed to manage queues of trucks heading to Europe, via ferries or the Eurotunnel to France, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to prevent gridlock for other road users. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

All other traffic on the motorway, including lorries carrying out UK deliveries, would have been forced to use a 50mph contraflow of two lanes in each direction on the London-bound side of the road.

Motorists were warned to allow for extra travel time and to make sure they had food and water in their vehicles in case of delays.

Several holding areas to park lorries were also created to house stationary lorries, including at Manston Airfield.

The measures were aimed at minimising disruption and keeping local traffic moving.

Operation Brock was initially deployed on March 25, four days ahead of the first planned Brexit date.

It was deactivated around three weeks later following the delay to the UK's withdrawal from the EU, but the steel barriers for the contraflow system and 50mph speed limit remained in place.

Ashford MP Damian Green told BBC News he was pleased the "wretched barriers" were finally being removed.

"It's been a miserable place to be driving for the past nine months or so and so everyone will welcome it going away," Mr Green said.

While Highways England project director Nicky Potts said:  "Removing the Operation Brock barrier is good news for drivers and the people of Kent and reflects the decreased risk of disruption to cross-channel services in the coming months." 

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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