Highways England sets out new measures for Operation Stack
Actions that will help improve the road network’s resilience when there are interruptions and delays to services across the English Channel are being drawn up by Highways England.
The actions include a new look at options for holding high volumes of lorries at a site close to the M20, and an interim solution that would hold freight traffic on the M20 while keeping the motorway open in both directions for other vehicles.
The new measures come after the Government’s announcement earlier this month that it has withdrawn its July 2016 decision to approve plans for a lorry area at Stanford West.
Highways England project director, John Kerner, has stated the following on the subject:
“Now that the Government has withdrawn the decision to build a lorry area at Stanford West, we have been asked by the Transport Secretary to immediately develop both an interim and a permanent solution to reduce the local traffic impacts if there is cross-channel disruption.
Highways England is committed to delivering the Government’s aim of finding a solution that makes Operation Stack less disruptive for people and businesses in Kent, and the improvements we are taking forward will help to do just that.”
Highways England have been planning several measures that, while continuing to hold HGVs on the M20, would allow non-port traffic to carry on travelling in both directions to minimise the number of traffic disruptions seen in Operation Stack. An example of this would be through holding HGVs in the centre of the motorway as apposed to on the coastbound carriageway. Different technologies such as steel barriers and movable barrier systems have been considered to deliver these measures.
The Transport Secretary has also requested that Highways England begin to action a development for a permanent alternative to Operation Stack. This should incorporate a lorry park, through the normal planning process, including a full Environmental Impact Assessment.
Highways England is currently reviewing the scope, scale and location of potential plans and will consult on the options in early 2018 and will work towards submitting a planning application in 2019.
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