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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 11:22 GMT
Plan to ease Dover traffic chaos
Operation Stack on the snowy M20
Operation Stack has been brought in several times so far this year
A plan to refine the way Operation Stack is implemented on the M20 has been proposed by Kent Police.

The operation where lorries wanting to cross the Channel park on the M20 to avoid congestion at Dover has been used at least 10 times so far this year.

However, it regularly causes delays and disruption to other motorists.

The force has proposed changes to the M20 between junctions 11 and 12 to allow a two-way contraflow system on the London-bound carriageway.

'Huge cost'

When Operation Stack is implemented, lorries are kept on the M20 and other traffic diverted onto the A20.

Under the proposal, freight traffic would still queue on the coastbound carriageway between junctions 11 and 12, as it does under phase one of the operation.

This year's disruption has been caused variously by berthing problems and berth maintenance at the port of Calais, 24-hour strike action at the French port, severe weather conditions in northern France, and operational issues at Eurotunnel.

Chief Constable of Kent Mike Fuller said it had been "hugely costly" to everybody involved, with neighbouring police forces drafted in to help with anything up to 3,000 lorries.

He told BBC Radio Kent the contraflow proposal would need government support and funding, but it was hoped it could be up and running by May.

He said if approved, it would minimise the disruption currently caused to the travelling public and non-freight traffic.

The first time the M20 was closed and used as a lorry park was at the end of the summer of 1988 when French industrial action lasting nearly 14 weeks stranded hundreds of foreign lorries in the UK.


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