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Moveable barrier to keep Kent’s road network moving

Feb 20, 2020
A concrete barrier that can be set up within hours to keep Kent’s roads moving at times of cross-channel disruption will be available from December this year. The announcement was made by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on 17 February.

According to Highways England, a specialist vehicle will be able to deploy the moveable barrier on the M20 swiftly and safely to ensure minimal disruption to motorists. This will be a marked improvement to Operation Brock, which required a month of overnight closures to deploy the metal barrier previously used for the contraflow system.

The technology will be designed to ensure the M20 is kept open at times of disruption, whilst also allowing the motorway to retain three lanes, a hard shoulder and 70 mph speed limits in both directions during normal traffic conditions.

Transport Secretary Grant 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.”

Moveable barriers are already used in cities around the world, including Auckland, Sydney, San Francisco and Vancouver.

The technology has been chosen by the Department for Transport and Highways England as a long-term solution and will ensure Kent is prepared for any disruption caused by industrial action, bad weather or Brexit related delays.

The new scheme also means Highways England’s work on an ‘off road’ replacement for Operation Stack has been stopped. As part of this, previous plans for a new large lorry holding area in Kent are no longer being pursued.

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