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Drivers warned to expect long delays as millions plan Easter getaway

In Kent, roads have faced particular high levels of disruption as Operation Brock is enforced along the M20 and delays continue at the Port of Dover following the fallout of the P&O Ferries scandal.

Drivers are being warned to expect long delays as millions of people plan to head off for Easter getaways next weekend.

In recent days, roads in Kent have faced high levels of disruption due to issues at the Port of Dover and thousands of lorries being able to park along a 23-mile stretch of the M20 under Operation Brock.

The operation involves using a moveable barrier to create a contraflow system enabling lorries to queue and other traffic to keep moving in both directions.

Despite its aim being to ease traffic, it has been overwhelmed leaving the area facing long queues every day for a week.

The coastbound carriageway between junction 8 and junction 11 remained closed on Friday morning in order to manage HGVs and other freight heading for the port or the Eurotunnel.

Dover District Council has said it is prepared to declare a major incident this weekend if the traffic situation continues to be "challenging".

Drivers travelling through or to Kent have been urged to check traffic before they travel, follow diversions and leave plenty of extra time for their journey.

The area could be one of the worst-hit in the coming week, with the AA predicting more than 27.6 million car journeys are being planned between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Some 13.6 million are expected on 15 April alone, leading to fears of tailbacks on popular tourist routes.

Number of ferry crossings cancelled

Traffic delays on Kent's roads are likely to be exacerbated by the shortage of ferries caused by the suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries after it sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice.

The operator confirmed all services from Dover to Calais have been suspended this weekend and has told customers to re-book directly with another operator before arriving at the port.

It added that it plans to resume operations on the Dover-Calais route next week, pending regulatory approval of two vessels - Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain.

To make matters worse, rival ferry operator DFDS has said it is no longer able to transfer P&O customers on to its services.

On Thursday, it told Sky News the 14-day deal to take their customers could not be extended because its ships were already at full capacity.

Flights delayed and long airport queues

Long delays at airports also continue to be a problem for travellers as airlines battle against staff sickness and shortages.

A total of more than 100 daily flights have already been cancelled by easyJet and British Airways.

Manchester Airport has seen long queues forming, with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham warning the delays are likely to continue for two months.

On Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority's chief executive, Richard Moriarty, wrote to airlines to remind them of their legal obligations to consumers and express "concerns" about the recent experiences of travellers.

"Where capacity is unavoidably restricted, we expect this co-operative planning to identify problems sufficiently in advance so as to allow pre-emptive cancellations," he said.

Those travelling to Gatwick Airport are also facing issues as all trains running between East Croydon and London Victoria are cancelled this weekend due to engineering works.

"We recommend you arrive at the airport in plenty of time, that's at least two hours for European flights and three hours for long-haul," it said.

Eurotunnel and railways facing issues

On the country's trains, passengers are being warned of disruption as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects.

This includes a closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes between Good Friday and Easter Monday due to upgrades of the existing line and HS2 work.

No Southern services will be able to run to and from London Victoria, with most trains diverted into London Bridge.

The Eurotunnel, which for many is being used to avoid delays at ferry ports, said it is "extremely busy" and urged passengers to double-check they have a booking before arriving to avoid being disappointed.

Original source: https://news.sky.com/story/drivers-warned-to-expect-long-delays-as-millions-plan-easter-getaway-12585024

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