CONTRAFLOWS ARE set to become a semi-permanent feature on the M20 motorway this summer in a bid to alleviate pressure on Kent roads caused by a backlog of lorries awaiting delayed cross channel ferries.
Maintenance work to berths at the Port of Calais, French industrial action and bad weather has forced police to close stretches of the M20 over 10 times since February (NCE 10 March 2005).
With the work at Calais expected to stretch into the summer and no resolution in sight to French industrial action, the Highways Agency has agreed to trial a contraflow scheme.
Under the scheme - agreed at a meeting last week between Kent police, local authorities and freight industry representatives - a contrafl ow will be set up for 17 km on the London-bound carriageway between Junctions 8 and 9.
The contrafl w will remove traffi from the coast-bound carriageway, freeing up lanes which can then be used to hold lorries heading for the Channel Tunnel and Dover.
The hard shoulder and lane one of the London-bound carriageway will be open to London-bound traffic and lane three allocated to traffic heading for the coast. Lane two will be closed to provide a safety lane.