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Transport | News

Transport: £12.6million stop-gap scheme for Operation Stack questioned by hauliers association

Contributed by editor on Jun 25, 2007 - 08:21 PM

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A multi-million pound solution to ease traffic chaos on the M20 whenever lorries are unable to cross the Channel was announced by transport minister Dr Stephen Ladyman today (25 June).

A quick moveable barrier (QMB) will be used on the M20 to allow four lanes to remain open when lorries are parked on the motorway in Operation Stack.

Previously, non-lorry traffic has been diverted on to the A20.

But transport minister Stephen Ladyman said the £12.6m scheme was a short-term solution until a lorry park was found.

"We are not intending this as a permanent solution but it will deal with the problem for the next few years," he said.

"In the long term we need an off-road lorry park but it is going to take a little while to identify one so in the meantime we are going ahead with the barrier.

It will provide a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway so two lanes will be in place in both directions.

Geoff Dossiter, spokesman for the Tunbridge Wells-based Freight Transport Association, said it was good news that money was being invested to solve the problem of Operation Stack.

"For too long the residents of Kent have had to put up with these problems and so has the transport industry," he said.

"But the real issue is whether this is the best possible solution.

"Perhaps £12.6m could have been spent on the construction of a properly facilitated lorry site."

Kent County Council said it welcomed the announcement but had made it clear to the minister that it would prefer an off-road lorry park.

It had identified a site between Folkestone and Ashford and was prepared to carry out further investigations into this option.