Operation Stack is now in place on the M20 coastbound between Junctions 8 and 9 this morning – Wednesday 22 July 2015 – due to a heavy volume of traffic heading towards the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.
Non-freight traffic is being diverted onto the A20 from Junction 8 (Hollingbourne) and can rejoin the M20 at Junction 9 (Ashford West). This allows backed-up freight traffic to park on the coastbound carriageway of the M20.
Kent Police is reminding lorry drivers that those at the front of the queue will get a ticket to continue their journey to the continent. Those who use the diversions for non-freight traffic in an attempt to get closer to the front, and who do not have a ticket, will be sent to the back of the Op Stack queue.
Motorists are advised to plan their journeys carefully and allow plenty of extra time if travelling towards the east of the county.
What is Operation Stack?
Operation Stack is where parts of the M20 are used to queue lorries travelling towards the continent, to avoid causing gridlock across Kent’s road network. It is only introduced as an emergency measure after consultation with other agencies and implemented following a thorough assessment of issues, including safety concerns and disruption on the road network.
How does it work?
Freight within Operation Stack is separated into two queues on either side of the carriageway, one for tunnel traffic and one for port traffic.
Space is left in the middle of the motorway to allow for emergency vehicles e.g. freight breaking down, medical emergencies.
Queues are released each time a ferry or train is due to depart to ensure the most amount of freight can continue to their destination in Europe.
You may see stretches of the motorway clear from time to time as groups of freight are moved down the Operation Stack queue in stages when a ferry or train is available.
Why do we close more sections of the motorway in the early stages of Op Stack?
When Operation Stack is first implemented there will be a significant queue of freight traffic which sometimes merges from the port to traffic for the Channel Tunnel. In order to safely manage the freight traffic and place the operation on, there may be a need to close other slip roads leading to the port and the tunnel for a period of time.