Page last updated at 08:33 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

M20 reopens at end of Operation Stack

Operation Stack on the M20
Heavy snow in northern France caused traffic chaos on the M20 in Kent

The M20 motorway between Maidstone and Ashford has reopened following Kent Police's decision to lift Operation Stack.

Lorries waiting to cross the English Channel from the Port of Dover were forced to park on the coastbound carriageway because of the weather.

The M20 was reopened in the early hours of Monday after the force cleared the backlog of traffic.

Ferry services from Dover resumed but were still subject to delays.

Operation Stack was set up on Friday after weather conditions prevented ferries from disembarking at Calais and the Channel Tunnel was closed.

'Fresh snow'

The Channel Tunnel was reopened to freight traffic but Eurostar services were suspended for a third day.

Tens of thousands of passengers have had journeys cancelled after train breakdowns in what the company said were unprecedented winter conditions.

Eurostar said snow shields used to protect the electrics of its trains had worked for the past 15 years but recent weather in France had been worse than anything previously experienced.

It has announced it hopes to resume a limited service on Tuesday and said it would try to get everyone home by Christmas.

Kent Police warned motorists to take extra care on the roads after more snow fell in parts of the county.

Ch Supt Matthew Nix said: "Although the gritters have been working through the night many areas are icy and we are having heavy snow in the Ashford, Folkestone and Dover areas.

"Please allow significantly extra time for your journey and make sure you have spare warm clothing and food and drink supplies in your vehicle.

"Pedestrians should also take great care as conditions can be treacherous underfoot where fresh snow is settling on the ice.

"If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours please check on them to make sure they are okay."



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