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Amber traffic warning issued ahead of ‘extremely busy’ weekend

Written by on 29 July 2022

The AA has issued an amber traffic warning for this weekend, the first time the motoring association has issued an alert ahead of time.

It said the roads are expected to be busier than usual, with train strikes, the start of the English Football League season, the Commonwealth Games, and summer holiday getaways combining to cause delays.

The AA told Sky News that while it has issued warnings before, this is the first time an alert has been issued ahead of time.

It added that traffic is likely to build between 11am and 3pm on Friday and Saturday, with further congestion expected at the Port of Dover and Folkestone.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “With holiday let switchover day starting on Friday mixed with train strikes and a huge weekend of sport, we are concerned that drivers will experience delays across the network with the south of England particularly vulnerable.

“All eyes will be on Dover and Folkestone, but we believe changes have been made throughout the week, and we will keep our fingers crossed for a smoother trip across the Channel.”

Ferry operator DFDS advised people to allow two hours to complete border checks at Dover – and there are fears of more disruption at ports, with demand for cross-Channel sailings expected to surge in the coming days.

There were already jams in Dover on Thursday morning, with long queues and gridlocked traffic at the port.

The port expects to welcome around 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday.

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Roads leading to the Port of Dover were busy on Sunday morning, but moving as normal. 0:39 Traffic at Dover last Sunday

Thousands were faced with long queues at the start of their summer holidays last weekend, with roads approaching Dover and Folkestone gridlocked and people stuck in queues for several hours.

The disruption was blamed on a serious crash on the M20 and a shortage of French border officers, while many also pointed to the impact of Brexit.

National Highways said: “Drivers travelling in and around Kent are advised to plan ahead as this weekend is likely to be extremely busy.

“Operation Brock contraflow remains in place on the M20 and is part of a series of measures to improve Kent’s resilience and ensure the smooth flow of traffic through the region in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel.”

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People planning on using the Port of Dover are advised to leave extra time for journeys and ensure they have enough food and water.

Earlier in July, the port told passengers they should expect average wait times of 60-90 minutes at French border control during peak periods because UK tourists are “subject to enhanced checks” due to Brexit.