Dover traffic: latest news on delays at Port of Dover

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Holidaymakers have warned that Dover Port will be “extremely busy”.

Holidaymakers faced two-hour queues at Dover Port on Thursday, amid warnings this weekend will be “extremely busy”.

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Ferry operator DFDS asked passengers to “allow 120 minutes to complete the check-in process and border controls at the Port of Kent”.

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Demand for crossings across the Channel is expected to surge in the coming days, prompting fears of further disruption.

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Additional post-Brexit border controls and French authorities’ understaffing of checkpoints in Dover have been blamed for delays in recent weeks.

Here’s everything you need to know:

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What did DFDS say?

DFDS has warned its customers to expect two hour queues at the Port of Dover this weekend.

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Passengers are being asked to “allow 120 minutes at the Port of Kent to complete the check-in process and border controls”.

The port expects around 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 cargo vehicles from Thursday to Sunday.

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What was the cause of the queues last weekend?

Tens of thousands of families saw the start of their summer holidays ruined last weekend when roads towards Dover were blocked, causing delays of several hours.

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This has been attributed to a lack of French border guards and a serious crash on the M20.

Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister said the way the system was “back to normal” by Sunday morning after French border controls were fully staffed showed that “our collective summer plan is working”.

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He continued: “We in turn, together with our ferry operators and port traffic management teams alike, will ensure that we are again fully resourced to provide customers with the best overall experience and to keep the roads of Kent running and our community open.

“I am very grateful to our French border colleagues for their dedication this coming weekend and the fundamental difference this should now make for customers, ferry operators, Kent partners and our community.”

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What did National Highways say?

Vehicles queuing at the Port of Dover in July 2022. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

National Highways, which manages England’s motorways and major A roads, said: “Drivers traveling in and around Kent are advised to plan ahead as this weekend is likely to be very busy.

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“Operation Brock Contraflow remains in force 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 a disruption to services across the English Channel.”

People heading to Dover are advised to allow extra time for their journey and ensure they have adequate food and water.

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What did AA say?

Meanwhile, the AA issued a “yellow traffic warning” with congestion expected to peak between 11am and 3pm on Friday and Saturday.

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This is due to a combination of rail strikes, the start of the Football League season in England, the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the first school summer holiday changeover days for holiday lettings.

The roads approaching Dover and the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone are expected to be busy, as are roads serving Devon and Cornwall such as the M5, A303 and A30.

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The south west and west sections of the M25, the Bristol M4/M5 junction and the M6, M42, M1 and M62 are also prone to congestion this weekend.

Jack Cousens, head of road policy at the AA, said: “With holiday rental changeover day starting on Friday, mixed with train strikes and a huge sports weekend, we are concerned that drivers across the network will face delays, particularly in the south of England which is vulnerable.

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“All eyes will be on Dover and Folkestone but we believe changes have been made throughout the week and we are crossing our fingers for a smoother journey across the English Channel.

“Breakdowns can exacerbate congestion and last weekend we saw an increase in breakdowns where vehicle checks were not carried out before departure.

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“Spending 10 minutes checking tires and fluid levels before setting off can make a world of difference when it comes to helping people reach their destination.”

Did the RAC say anything?

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RAC Traffic Spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Analysis of Inrix traffic data shows that long delays can be expected on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the M25 between Bromley and Dartford Crossing and on the A303 westbound to Devon.

“Longer queues are also likely to occur at the weekend on the southbound M5 near Bristol and on the clockwise M25 between the M23 and M40 junctions.

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“Drivers using these routes, as well as those passing through Kent who may be affected by traffic to the Port of Dover, should prepare for a longer journey and not rely on the first estimated time of arrival given by their sat nav.

“Leaving early in the morning is the best way to avoid traffic.”

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