Operation Stack takes a U-turn to improve roads for HGV drivers

Published: 21 May 2018

Operation Stack takes a U-turn to improve roads for HGV drivers
Now unveiled as Operation Brock, a contraflow will be put in place keeping the roads open when traffic begins to build up. Speaking on the matter, Jesse Norman, road minister stated that the “interim plan” will begin Spring 2019 while they plan to find a permanent solution.
 
During 2015, there were queues of 4,600 lorries spreading back over 30 miles costing the UK economy £250m on a daily basis. Mr Norman continued: "We've seen the severe disruption that people in Kent had to face in 2015 when there were hold ups across the Channel.
 
"This interim plan will help to minimise that disruption and mean people will be able to go about their everyday lives, seeing friends and family or going to work, as well as businesses being able to get to their customers."
On the northbound carriageway a contraflow system will be introduced meaning the traffic can move in both directions between junctions 8 (Maidstone) and 9 (Ashford) with lorries queueing on the opposite side.
This means vehicles will be able to access both junctions instead of being diverted onto the smaller roads which causes more harm than good to traffic. Highways England is preparing to improve the northbound hard shoulder to brace for the change also starting a public consultation on a more permanent resolve that will benefit drivers of all vehicle types.
 
The consultation will involve asking local property owners, firms and other more involved members of the freight industry as to whether they would prefer a solution to be on the roads or a possible off-road lorry park which could ease the traffic and allow more drivers to take a break when required which will lead to better traffic flow.
 
A spokeswoman for the FTA shared their opinion on the matter: "These policies won't solve the problem overnight but we see today's announcements as a good step in the right direction and now want to work with government to ensure we develop the facilities that our lorry drivers need."
 
One thing that seems crystal clear: if the restructure proves to be successful and benefits lorry drivers, it could be considered for more motorways across the UK that face the same problems. If a permanent solution is found to bring traffic down and it is well-funded we could finally see improvements to traffic on roads across the UK.
 
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