The safety of road users is a priority both for the Department for Transport and for Highways England, and has been throughout the design and potential implementation of the Operation Brock traffic management contingency measures.
Highways England are responsible for operational decisions regarding the strategic road network in England, which includes the M20 in Kent. Decisions regarding significant changes to this road network – such as the removal of the metal barrier that is currently in place on the London-bound carriageway between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20, or the use of lanes on the M20 carriageways – are made on their advice and by taking into consideration the safety and convenience of all road users. The speed restrictions imposed on the contraflow system were put in place to ensure the safe use of the system by both freight and non-freight drivers.
The coast-bound carriageway between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20 is currently operating as a three-lane motorway and the Operation Brock contraflow system is not active on this part of the motorway. The London-bound carriageway has two running lanes, operating with a 50 mph speed limit.
The steel barrier on the London-bound carriageway will remain in place until further notice, to allow for the option of deploying the contraflow at short notice during times of cross-Channel disruption, caused by bad weather or industrial action as in the past, for example. The M20 barrier will remain under regular review over the coming months, but is unlikely to be removed before the end of October.