Removal of no-deal Brexit contraflow for UK-EU international lorries began last night, although steel barrier will remain in case system needed ‘in the coming months’
Work began last night to remove the ‘Operation Brock’ contraflow system for UK international lorries on the M20 motorway in Kent, put in place to help manage the anticipated massive disruption to UK-EU international road freight transport in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March.
Following this week’s decision by European Union leaders this week to grant the UK a six-month ‘flextension’ to 31 October on its departure date from the EU,UK road body Highways England confirmed yesterdaythat work began last night “to remove the contraflow on the London bound carriageway – part of what is known as Operation Brock – and is due to be completed in time for the Easter getaway next weekend”.
It said the decision was taken “in the light of the reduced threat of disruption to services across the English Channel in the coming weeks and has been endorsed by the Kent Resilience Forum.
However, Highways England said thesteel barrier on the London-bound carriageway will remain in case the system is required in the coming months, as part of `’new resilience measures for people living, working and travelling in the county”.
Highways England special operations director Duncan Smith said: “Operation Brock gives the people of Kent a scalable set of measures that helps them to live, work and travel around the county when there is disruption to services across the English Channel. The deployment of the contraflow on the M20 has been a prudent measure reflecting the threat of potential disruption.
“Scaling it back now is a sensible response to the changing outlook, and restores capacity on the motorway in time for the Easter bank holiday weekend. We are grateful to drivers and residents in Kent for their patience while the contraflow is in place and for driving safely.
“A steel barrier which was installed on the London-bound carriageway to implement the contraflow between junction 8 and junction 9 will remain in place should Operation Brock be required again in the coming months.”
He said once the contraflow is deactivated, there will be three lanes running coastbound at national speed limit and two lanes running London-bound at 50mph (80kmh). That compares with speed limits of just 30mph since the system was activated in the last week of March in the lead-up to the UK’s initial planned departure date from the EU.