Original article from Kent Live
Highways authorities insist it was the "right decision" to install the Operation Brock barrier on the M20 – despite it being removed without being used after less than a fortnight.
Operation Brock creates a contraflow road layout on the London bound carriageway between junctions 8 and 9.
The massive concrete barrier means lorries heading for mainland Europe can queue on the coastbound carriageway if there is disruption or delays at the Port or tunnel.
But every time it's put up and taken down, it costs around £196,000, according to Highways England.
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It also means local motorists having to travel at less than 50mph along a 15-mile section of road.
Kent Resilience Forum said it had taken the decision to install the scheme jointly with Government.
It coincided with "freedom day" on July 19, with regional director Nicola Bell saying at the time it would "inevitably mean more travel across to France".
However France remained on the amber-plus list for travel restrictions – a decision also taken by Government – meaning anyone heading there still needs to quarantine on return, even if they've been double jabbed.
There are now reports that quarantine-free travel to France could return soon, even though the barriers have now been removed.
In the end the Operation Brock lanes never had to be used – and over the last weekend, the M20 was closed and massive concrete barriers moved back to the hard shoulder.
Kent Resilience Forum said the decision was "based on passenger booking forecasts and reduced check-in times at border inspection points at the cross-Channel borders".
When MyDover asked if booking forecasts had been used in the first decision, Highways England said they were "just two important factors" in the decision making.
Nicky Potts, Highways England’s head of operational integration, in the South East, said: “Ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in and through Kent is a top priority and the use of Operation Brock is kept under continual review.
"We are in constant contact with the Government and our Kent Resilience Forum partners and any decision to put out or remove the barrier is taken jointly.”
The Operation Brock scheme was also implemented shortly before the end of the Brexit transition period in January.
Despite dire warnings of disruption, it didn't have to be used then either.
The barriers were in place for five months before finally being taken down at the end of April.