Operation Stack will be renamed ‘Operation Brock’ in light of new temporary plans to ease traffic in Kent in the event of cross-Channel disruption.
The interim plans, revealed in May by roads minister Jesse Norman, will allow traffic to travel in both directions between Junctions 8 and 9 of the M20 while trucks are being queued for the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel to enable drivers to access these junctions, rather than being diverted onto smaller local roads.
It will be made possible using a contraflow on the northbound carriageway – available for use by early 2019 – if there is disruption to cross-Channel traffic and trucks have to be queued.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is also setting out plans to improve overnight truck parking so fewer vehicles will be left on local roads or parked in lay-bys overnight.
“This interim plan will help minimise disruption,” Norman said, adding a public consultation on a permanent solution to Operation Stack, led by Highways England, will be launched shortly. “This will include asking residents, businesses and the freight industry whether they would rather see an on-road solution or an off-road lorry park,” he said.
Highways England will start work soon on improving the northbound hard shoulder of the M20 to allow for two-way traffic to be contained within one carriageway, enabling the road to remain open.
According to the government, schemes like the Dover Traffic Access Protocol (TAP), which sees trucks held outside of the port town instead of clogging up Dover’s centre roads, and more holding spaces at the port have helped to prevent many instances of Operation Stack being called since the events of 2015.