15-hour delays heading to Dover

Delays for British travellers heading towards Dover have eased but motorists have been warned to expect some disruption for weeks to come.

Holidaymakers faced hours on gridlocked roads at the weekend as some spent the night in their cars as they tried in vain to get to the port.

By yesterday afternoon, Kent police said the situation had returned to normal, with those on the roads facing a wait of about 30 minutes on the A20 approach to Dover.

UK Border Force officials have been drafted in to work with French border police after the UK government admitted motorists had suffered “extraordinary disruption” as the great summer getaway began on Friday.

At one stage, there were 20km tailbacks and people endured 15-hour waits.

Police said the disruption is down to a “vast volume of holiday traffic” coupled with delays caused by heightened security at the border in the wake of terror attacks.

Increased checks were put in place by French authorities at the port but questions have been raised about staffing levels to deal with the huge number of people travelling at this time.

After complaints that just one French officer was available to check in coaches on Friday night into Saturday, port authorities said six booths, four for cars, one for coaches and one for freight traffic, were manned overnight into Sunday.

Police said the “large volume” of holiday traffic coupled with heightened security checks “could however mean some delays over the next few weeks”.

They had initially predicted severe disruption could last into today.

Water supplies were dropped along the jam by police helicopter on Saturday, as motorists rationed their food and drink during the standstill.

A Sikh humanitarian relief organisation also pitched in with the effort, delivering nearly 6,000 bottles of water along with snacks to the stranded motorists.

Motorists set to travel to Dover are still being advised to take food and water with them in case of delays.


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