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The Port of Dover and the three Dover ferry operators, P&O Ferries, DFDS Seaways and SeaFrance Ltd, are jointly calling on Government and the Highways Agency to implement swift action on the main road artery to Dover.
This is in anticipation of worsening congestion at Folkestone as the Port and its ferry operators gear up for the main summer holiday period.
Following a series of communications with the Roads Minister and the Highways Agency, Dover is warning that the repercussions of not rapidly addressing the lane restrictions at the Roundhill Tunnels in Folkestone on the A20, caused by failed expansion joints on the Roundhill Viaduct, could lead to severe congestion on a daily basis, making the situation worse than Operation Stack for local residents.
A permanent repair to the fault is several months away and so the need to provide an adequate temporary solution is becoming critical if the key route to the UK’s busiest ferry port is to cope with the anticipated volumes of traffic through the busy summer season. Tourist traffic is predicted to increase by 50% next weekend (22-24 July) with over a quarter of a million passengers expected to travel by ferry via Dover during this busy start to the school holidays.
The port and ferry operators are calling on the Highways Agency to order and install temporary bridging units in order that both lanes of each carriageway on this trans-European roadway can be re-opened as a matter of urgency. They are also pressing for the motorway variable message signs to be fully utilised so that as much car and coach traffic as possible is encouraged to use the M2/A2 route to Dover and to minimise the delays at the tunnels and in nearby Folkestone.
In the meantime, customers are advised to use the A2/M2 route to and from the Port of Dover.