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Highways Agency to ditch Operation Stack moveable barrier for M20

  • 10 April 2012
  • By Hayley Pink

The Highways Agency (HA) is to scrap the quickchange moveable barrier (QMB) used on the M20 in Kent due to cost.

The QMB was originally planned to assist with traffic flow in periods when trucks are not able to cross the Channel, as part of Operation Stack.

It was designed to allow contra-flow arrangements to be implemented more quickly on the London-bound carriageway of the M20, between junctions 11 and 12, at times of extreme congestion at the Channel ports or Eurotunnel.

Installed in 2008, the QMB costs £627,849 per year to lease, and has only been used twice in the past four years.

As a result, the HA has decided not to renew the lease when it expires at the end of this month, as the barrier does not represent good value for money.

Simon Duke, HA service manager, says: “When the QMB was installed, it was predicted that Operation Stack and the QMB would be used much more frequently than they have been.

“In reality, the QMB has been used on only two occasions: once during a routine Operation Stack incident and for a number of months when Operation Stack was used following the Channel Tunnel fire.”

He adds that the HA will continue to work on finding a long-term solution to mitigate the effects of Operation Stack on the local communities.


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