No hiding place from the chaos on road and rail
OPERATION Stack was finally lifted on Monday after a weekend of travel chaos for motorists.
Problems started last Friday evening causing traffic gridlock along the M20.
Icy conditions and the loss of services across the Channel via ferries and the Channel Tunnel left lorries stuck and motorists were diverted along the A20. Queues began to build up quickly.
On the last weekend before Christmas motorists faced miles of tailbacks as they attempted to squeeze in last-minute shopping.
Police issued an urgent travel warning to drivers to avoid the Folkestone, Ashford and Dover sections of the M20.
Kent Police Chief Superintendent Matthew Nix said: “Many people have spent a long time in their cars and other vehicles on the motorway and the major routes around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel at Cheriton.”
The problems continued on Sunday as passengers who were due to travel on Eurotunnel on Saturday made their way to Folkestone to get to France.
Stack was lifted at 2.40am on Monday morning after police cleared the backlog of freight queuing on the M20.
Fresh snow on Monday started a fresh week of misery for commuters.
In Folkestone many roads became treacherous as a fresh covering of snow saw motorists slipping and sliding while in Ashford as the snow began to thaw roads quickly turned to slush causing cars to skid.
Hundreds of travellers were stuck in queues for up to two hours attempting to cross the Channel via Eurotunnel.
As cars, vans and lorries approached the checkpoint at Folkestone everything ground to a halt and travellers faced a wait of up to an hour to get to passport control.
One driver trying to get to Disneyland with his family said: “We’ve just been sitting here and we’ve moved about 100 yards. Other cars keep pulling out in front of us and switching lanes.”
Meanwhile Eurostar passengers at St Pancras were left at the station as all services were cancelled over the weekend.
Long wait: The build-up of lorries on the M20 Dover-bound as Operation Stack was brought into force
Stuck in Stack: This was the scene for M20 coastbound traffic at Junction 11a for the Channel Tunnel after Operation Stack was launched