The government is to deploy a San Francisco-style moveable barrier in the hope of avoiding Brexit-induced mega traffic jams throughout Kent.
The £60m moveable barrier, creating a temporary contraflow system, can be set up “within hours” and will be available from December, transport secretary Grant Shapps revealed this morning.
Although the UK has officially left the EU, potential disruption will not be felt until after the transition period at the end of this year.
The extent of that disruption will not become clear until a trade deal is struck but government has repeatedly warned that it is no longer seeking a frictionless trade deal, meaning delays are now almost inevitable.
But the government claims this new technology will ensure that the M20 is kept open at times of disruption, while also allowing the motorway to retain three lanes, a hard shoulder and 70mph speed limits in both directions during normal traffic conditions.
Government claims its new approach will be “a marked improvement” to Operation Brock which cost £35m and required a month of overnight closures to deploy the metal barrier required for the contraflow system previously used.
Kent residents are more familiar with Operation Stack, which has been deployed more than 70 times – usually as a result of strikes in France – which has resulted in miles of lorry tailbacks. In some cases under the old system lorries were stuck for many hours, even days.
Shapps said:“After listening to frustrated residents and businesses affected by Operations Brock and Stack, we’ve invested in a new solution to boost Kent’s resilience and keep its vital road network moving, even at times of disruption.
“This state-of-the-art technology can be deployed quickly, simply and safely, ensuring motorists across the county can get to where they need to be with minimum fuss, whatever the circumstances.”
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