Operation Stack: when disrupted Channel crossings lead to extreme traffic control
The chaos wrought by striking French ferry workers has triggered the system that creates a controlled 13-mile queue of lorries
Operation Stack is an intriguing name, suggesting both scale and stealth. You imagine a giant community sculptural project, or the well-meant but fatalistically overwrought endeavours of a human pyramid. The latter is surprisingly close. But the structure comprises trucks, not humans, arranged as a snake rather than a pyramid.
Back-to-back boxes are braked for around 13 miles on the M20, while non-freight traffic bypasses them on the A20. This extreme form of traffic control was launched in 1987, and has been in play since Tuesday after French ferry workers went on strike, bringing cancelled crossings and chaos. Lorries at the front of the queue are given a ticket to continue their journey. Lorries trying to cheat by using the A20 are sent to the back with no ticket. Ouch.
Source: Guardian Transport