Details of work to remove the steel barrier on the M20 in Kent, installed last year as part of Operation Brock, have been confirmed by Highways England.
The removal of the barrier, which starts on Monday (13 January) is good news for drivers. It means that three full width lanes at the national speed limit will soon be restored on the London-bound M20 at the end of the month.
The barrier has been in place on a 15-mile section of the M20 between junctions 8 (for Maidstone) and 9 (at Ashford) since March 2019, reflecting the risk of potential traffic disruption during this period. Now that the risk has lowered, Highways England has agreed with the Kent Resilience Forum and the Department for Transport it is the right time to take the barrier down.
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.
“Operation Brock has provided people living, working and travelling in and around Kent with a scalable set of measures to help limit the impact to the county in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel.
“We are grateful for people’s patience while the barrier has been in place, and are looking forward to restoring the motorway to full capacity.”
The work to remove the barrier will start with a full closure of the M20 in both directions on Monday 13 January between junctions 9 and 7 from 8pm until 6am on Tuesday 14 January.
From 8pm on Tuesday 14 January, the London-bound carriageway of the M20 will be closed between junctions 9 and 7 from 8pm until 6am every night for a further 15 nights. Work is being carefully planned to limit any disruption, with all work being carried out overnight.
There will also be lane restrictions on short sections of the coastbound carriageway near junction 9 (for Ashford) and 8 (for Maidstone) while gaps in the central reservation that were used as crossover points during Operation Brock will be reinstated. At these locations, lane 3 will be closed for safety reasons until the work to lift the barrier is finished, with a reduced 50mph speed limit in lanes 1 and 2.
Around 1500 metres of barrier will be taken off each night, with road markings repainted and gaps in the central reservation barrier closed.
The final overnight closure is planned for Tuesday 28 January, where the coastbound carriageway will be closed while the remaining restrictions are removed. All work is expected to be complete, with all restrictions removed, by Saturday 1 February at the latest.
Full details of the closures, including diversion routes, can be found on the M20 junctions 8 to 9 temporary solution web page.