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Operation Stack on the M20 - anyone in a car experienced it?

(81 Posts)
Ladytron Thu 16-Jul-15 14:46:40

As opposed to a lorry driver, that is! As I understand it, car drivers heading towards the Eurotunnel at Folkestone have to exit the M20 at j8 (?) and use the A20 due to the lorries parked up on the M20.

Is this correct? Do you use the A20 for a while and then get back on the M20 further along? Or A20 all the way to Folkestone?

We are travelling next week and I am getting anxious about how much time we will have to allow in order to make our Eurotunnel slot. It might be me, but I don't think the information given on their website is very clear! confused

Thanks for any info!

Toffeelatteplease Thu 16-Jul-15 21:40:56

From memory Operation stack can close up to ashford. You absolutely do need to allow extra time for time. But u can't remember how much I think from memory it takes 40 mins to 20 mins on the motorway.

Indantherene Thu 16-Jul-15 21:49:11

Depends how much is closed. It is possible to-be stuck on the A20 all the way down after J8. You need to allow double the time you'd normally take. Used to take me an hour to get home to Ashford from Maidstone during Stack.

Ladytron Thu 16-Jul-15 21:58:31

Thanks for your replies. Double early alarm it is!

juniorcakeoff Thu 16-Jul-15 22:11:20

At the moment, you are diverted off at j8 (maidstone - leeds castle) onto the A20 and come back on at j9 (Ashford). Volume of traffic and shiteness of A20 means it can get bad, especially at rush hour, especially round maidstone and ashford.

Don't come off at 8 if you can avoid it, come off earlier and use some of the back roads to get further down cross country, cutting maidstone out completely. The queues round 8 are a nightmare due to the freight on the roundabouts.

Sometimes they close all the way down from 8-11 in which case you really need to stay on the back roads... It can change v quickly e.g last fri they suddenly closed j9-11 at around 4pm and south kent also closed smile. Follow @kentpolice on twitter.

iwantgin Fri 17-Jul-15 07:35:59

I will follow this thread as am travelling fromEurotunnel in a couple of weeks.

Looks like we will have to set off mega early. It's a long enough drive from W Yorkshire to start with.

But will be worth it.

Ladytron Fri 17-Jul-15 08:40:55

Thanks for the tip juniorcake.

basildonbond Fri 17-Jul-15 10:10:23

bugger ... we are booked onto the 5:30 shuttle tomorrow morning

I'm really struggling to understand the info on the Highways England website ...

any ideas as to how ridiculously early we're going to need to leave SW London to get there on time??

mrsmortis Fri 17-Jul-15 11:16:47

With a journey that early I don't think you are going to need to worry about traffic so I'd just stick it into google and make sure that the route you choose avoids the relevant bits of the motorway...

iwantgin Fri 17-Jul-15 11:33:21

It's probably the best time of day basildonbond to get there actually.

Hope it all goes well. Just allow plenty of time just in case. If you are mega early they will no doubt let you go on an earlier train anyway.

iwantgin Sun 19-Jul-15 11:53:20

Anyone travelled this weekend?

Further updates?

Ingles2 Sun 19-Jul-15 12:00:33

I think the information on the internet is really hard to follow.. tbh, we live 1/2 hour away from the M20 (west) and have no clue what is going on... and will be travelling on eurotunnel in a week..eek!
All I do know is that the M20 was fully closed yesterday (sat) and there were lots of customers in my shop complaining about the roads around Ashford

iwantgin Sun 19-Jul-15 13:07:27

I think from what I have read, is that there is the issue of the Stack - plus the Eurotunnel are having some works done on the check in plaza.

I hate it when things might not go to plan. I spend ages booking and checking times etc for our trips.

We are going the week after you Ingles2 . Therefore I have even longer to worry about it.

Hope your trip goes well.

basildonbond Sun 19-Jul-15 21:49:41

Well we left London at 3am <faints> and got there in well under 2 hours

The diversion was fine but we were v glad we'd gone early as even at that time the traffic was starting to build up

Ladytron Mon 20-Jul-15 08:38:53

Well done for reporting back Basildonbond. The Kent police reported the M20 was reopened between J8-9 yesterday (Sunday). Was that the case when you got there? We are setting off tomorrow morning and I am planning a 4am departure from Essex to be there for 8:20 checkin <madness!>

basildonbond Mon 20-Jul-15 11:23:26

It was closed when we went hideously early on Saturday so we were sent off on the diversion around Ashford. At that time of the morning it was fine but as there are v few patches of dual carriageway I can imagine it would have been hell on earth later on in the morning...

To be honest if the motorway is open I'd leave a bit more time to be on the safe side but I don't think you'd need to be that early!

iwantgin Tue 21-Jul-15 07:33:27

Thanks for reporting back Basildon.

Hope yu get there easily Ladytron

iwantgin Tue 21-Jul-15 07:34:53

Yu ?



RocanaHardplace Wed 22-Jul-15 07:39:03

Kent Police's Roads Policing Unit (Traffic Police) have a twitter feed @kentpoliceroads it is updated by the officers themselves and when Op Stack is on is very useful for picking up on the live situation. The other services such as Kent Highways are also there. Useful if yr travelling down or up the M20 area

MrsUltracrepidarian Wed 22-Jul-15 10:08:42

Confused about how you actually get into the Eurtounnel complex if the motorway is closed - surely the only entrance is on the M20? Or is there another way in?

MrsUltracrepidarian Wed 22-Jul-15 10:12:37

okay, pls ignore me - just answered my own question by looking a the map blush

iwantgin Wed 22-Jul-15 10:12:47

I think after a certain junction number you need to use the M2 and the A roads.

But am not 100% sure myself yet.


spiky54 Wed 22-Jul-15 12:11:17

Useful thread - directed here from the one I just started about the very same issue. We are travelling tomorrow from Ashford north premier inn to catch the 9.50 am train. Have planned this trip with military precision to accommodate DS2 who has severe autism and gets very anxious on journeys / holidays. It really pisses me off that our plans might be scuppered at the first hurdle. I honestly don't know how he'll react if we're stuck in a massive tailback.

basildonbond Wed 22-Jul-15 14:57:06

You get back onto the M20 after the diversion - getting into the terminal was easy as there's no way to go other than where you're being filtered

Good luck spiky - ds2 has ASD and doesn't 'do' spontaneity so any changes to timings, plans etc are a Very Bad Thing

spiky54 Wed 22-Jul-15 19:58:45

Has just taken us 6 hours to drive from Somerset to Ashford - came off m25 and drove on back roads to Maidstone. Wouldn't recommend - v v slow and Maidstone was almost gridlocked. On the positive side, ds2 was utterly brilliant and coped really well.

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