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Operation Stack

Operation Stack - Published 14/04/09

The Highways Agency is advising drivers planning to travel to Europe using ferries from Dover on Tuesday 14 April 2009, not to travel to the port without checking with their respective ferry operator to confirm that their services are running.

Kent Police have implemented their “Operation Stack” (which involves parking channel-bound lorries on parts of the M20) after French fishermen blockaded Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk ports.

As network operator for the England’s motorways and major A roads the Highways Agency is working with Kent Police to provide traffic management support for the implementation of Operation Stack.

Hauliers, lorry drivers and motorists are being urged to consider whether journeys are absolutely necessary and where possible to avoid travelling.
Motorists are reminded they may find themselves in queues of traffic for some time and they should set out on their journeys with adequate provisions especially any necessary medication as well as water and food as.

Drivers are advised to check their route for delays before they travel and to check travel news bulletins during their journey.

Know what's happening on the motorways and major A roads before you set off

  • check out our website:
  • Listen to travel news broadcasts or tune in to Traffic Radio - available 24/7 via DAB digital radio or online at
  • For real-time traffic information, the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated telephone service is on 08700 660 115
  • Call the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30.
  • Road users can find out details of all planned roadworks or events that could impact on their journeys by visiting

Operation Stack - Phases

Operation Stack Map

Phase 1

Channel-bound lorries are parked on the M20 coast bound carriageway between Junctions 11 (Hythe) and 12 (Cheriton) while other traffic is diverted along the A20 via Junction 11.

Phase 2

When the M20 between junctions 11 and 12 becomes full, the coast bound carriageway between Maidstone and Ashford (Junctions 8 and 9) is also closed for lorry parking.

This helps to reduce road congestion in and around Dover and at the Channel crossing terminals.

Phase 3

This involves closing the M20 London bound between junctions 9 and 8 (Ashford to Maidstone).

For the latest news regarding operation stack on the M20 in Kent and what phase is currently in operation please visit the Kent Police Website.