No deal Brexit speed limits on Kent motorway to remain in place 'for several months'

No deal Brexit speed limits on Kent motorway to remain in place 'for several months'

                                                                 
No deal Brexit speed limits on Kent motorway to remain in place 'for several months'
A reduced speed limit introduced on the M20 motorway near Dover in preparation for a no-deal Brexit will continue to cause delays.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman announced that steel barriers installed to ease traffic flow on a stretch of the M20 during disruption at Dover are unlikely to be removed before October 31 - the deadline for Theresa May’s latest Brexit extension.
The barriers have reduced a northbound section of the motorway near Ashford from three lanes to two narrower lanes.
It means the speed limit has been cut from 70mph to 50mph for many drivers arriving in the UK from continental Europe.
Operation Brock, between junctions 8 and 9, has been set up to ease congestion in Kent if traffic grinds to a standstill in the event of a no-deal Brexit (GETTY)
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Operation Brock was deployed on March 25 - four days ahead of the first planned Brexit date.
It was deactivated around three weeks later following the delay to the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
However, the steel barriers and 50mph speed limit remain in place.
Responding to a written question about Operation Brock, Mr Norman stated: ‘The steel barrier on the London-bound carriageway will remain in place until further notice, to allow for the option of deploying the contraflow at short notice during times of cross-Channel disruption, caused by bad weather or industrial action as in the past, for example.
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‘The M20 barrier will remain under regular review over the coming months, but is unlikely to be removed before the end of October.’
Work to install the barriers resulted in four weeks of road closures - and a similar amount of time would be required to remove the structures.
Highways England said reopening the third northbound lane now would prevent the quick implementation of Operation Brock in the future.
Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said: "We have supported measures to reduce the road chaos caused in Kent when there is cross-Channel disruption, but drivers could be forgiven for thinking what is supposed to be a temporary, emergency measure is looking increasingly permanent.
Traffic passes the Brexit-inspired mural by artist Banksy in Dover, Kent, as MPs will vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal later today following last-minute talks with the EU.
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"Understandably removing the barriers will take time and trouble, but surely making the system relatively easy to install and dismantle should be a key part of the design?
"Road users might be more sympathetic if there was nothing else going on along the M20.
"But throw in the disruption caused by upgrades near Maidstone and the building of Junction 10a at Ashford, and at the moment along many stretches this is a motorway more in name than reality."
It follows news of gridlocked traffic on the M275 into the city of Portsmouth after the speed limit was reduced from 60mph to 40mph in preparation for no deal.
The new checkpoints on the man artery into the city would allow checks to be done in advance rather than queues forming at the port.

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