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Eurotunnel this Friday.... Predictions?, snowHeads ski forum
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Eurotunnel this Friday.... Predictions?

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We're driving out to Alpe Dhuez (oz en oisans) on Friday (8th April). We live about 2 to 2.5 hours drive (without major traffic) from the eurotunnel and have to go around the m25 anti clockwise from Heathrow to the m20. The aim is to get to a 24hr hotel near dijon around midnight to 1am latest.

The kids school finishes at lunchtime and we're debating whether to take them out of school for that morning so we can leave earlier.

It seems last Friday was pretty horrendous with lots of long queues and chaos. P+o ferries being suspended might mean more pressure on chunnel? We're wondering if this week will be even worse...

We have fully flexible tickets
What would other snowheads do?

Thanks all!
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News of big delays today, after a train was stuck in the tunnel......
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Operation Brock is still in place. Last Friday the M20 was shut, which added nearly 2 hours.

https://nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/operation-brock/

Currently the contraflow is in use. My guess is add another hour to the normal Friday afternoon traffic delays, so for you perhaps 3.5 hours.

Also Eurotunnel itself wasn't quick, and that was with FlexiPlus.
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@jellyspoons, take the kids out of school. They wont be doing any learning on the last day and I'm sure they will have covid symptoms that day. You cant predict the how busy it will be but leaving earlier will give you a buffer in your travel plans, ie its better to arrive at your hotel at 9pm rather that 5am. Not that this will affect you but the M2 will be closed overnight this week around the Medway towns for resurfacing work.
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If taking them out of school isn't an option for your conscience, when we've need to go straight from school before, we pick them up from school with the car fully loaded and head straight off from there - saves at least 45 mins faffing with the inevitable dawdling home from school, last minute teddy hunt, pee etc etc - despite all the skiing gumph, we've managed to find room to squash in 3d "art" projects and stinking PE kit before now! Obviously at school pick up, we sent them straight back in for a pee before setting off!
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Dijon is a long way down. I live closer to the tunnel and only ever make it to Reims. But each to their own -- actually if you get up early you'll probably miss the loony Belgium drivers Eh oh!
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@jellyspoons, Take them out of school. Anti clockwise from Heathrow, is IMO, the worst section on Fridays and rush hour there seems to start from midday. Also, as mentioned above, the M20 is pretty much single lane between 8 & 9.

As BergenBergen says, give yourself a buffer.

And make sure you have fuel in your tank as currently there's little, if any, fuel in petrol stations around Ashford & Folkestone.
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We are going this Friday - we have no choice but to leave MK at 6 with a crossing of 22:20 - not flexi.

I think it's a bit of an the day thing. At Feb HT the roads were no issue at all - just a bit of a faff getting past the lorry stack on the slip and the booths. Once passed the booths into the waiting/loading process it was slow and a bit chaotic so we lost the time we made on the road and left near enough when we were booked to.

My feeling is your better going a bit early or a bit later - so avoiding the M25 at 5-6 but it only takes a couple of accidents and the whole thing can go to sh-it. Hence why we leave 4.5 hours for a 2.5 hour journey!
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We're crossing via the Eurotunnel on Saturday, travelling down from the North-East. I'm trying to track the status of the roads via traffic sites and twitter, but it's all a bit confusing - what's opened, closed, contra-flow, etc...

Can anyone with any detailed knowledge of the vicinity of this part of Kent tell me if I should be considering detouring away from M20 J7-8, possibly via M2 and cutting across down to Ashford?
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giddyman wrote:
We're crossing via the Eurotunnel on Saturday, travelling down from the North-East. I'm trying to track the status of the roads via traffic sites and twitter, but it's all a bit confusing - what's opened, closed, contra-flow, etc...

Can anyone with any detailed knowledge of the vicinity of this part of Kent tell me if I should be considering detouring away from M20 J7-8, possibly via M2 and cutting across down to Ashford?


This will really depend on the day. If the M20 is gridlocked, then unfortunately most of the local roads will be Sad

If you want to use the M2, come off at the Darenth interchange - think it's Jct 2 of M25 and head towards Canterbury on A2 - it's all dual carriageway - then take A28 from Canterbury to Ashford and join M20 at Jct 10a. Jct 11 is likely to be closed for coast/eurotunnel bound travel if there are crossing delays, so if you did a loop down to Dover & back to Folkestone, you would have to go to Ashford to get to Eurotunnel. Also applies if you go past Canterbury and take the A260.

The M20 has a contra flow - Operation Brock/bain of our lives between Jcts 8 & 9. Depending on lorry stacking will determine if this is full and therefore diverted to A20. If it's open it's 2 lanes for a few miles, but then goes into a single lane. This is because they were removing OP Brock and hadn't finished the works when P&O pulled the fast one.

https://www.kenttraffic.info/ may be of use.

Good luck and have a good trip snowHead
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Layne wrote:
We are going this Friday - we have no choice but to leave MK at 6 with a crossing of 22:20 - not flexi.

I think it's a bit of an the day thing. At Feb HT the roads were no issue at all - just a bit of a faff getting past the lorry stack on the slip and the booths. Once passed the booths into the waiting/loading process it was slow and a bit chaotic so we lost the time we made on the road and left near enough when we were booked to.

My feeling is your better going a bit early or a bit later - so avoiding the M25 at 5-6 but it only takes a couple of accidents and the whole thing can go to sh-it. Hence why we leave 4.5 hours for a 2.5 hour journey!



The big difference between Feb HT and now is that there are no P&O ferries running out of Dover, so a shortfall in capacity, especially freight, hence using the M20 as a lorry park again.
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knackered knees wrote:
giddyman wrote:
We're crossing via the Eurotunnel on Saturday, travelling down from the North-East. I'm trying to track the status of the roads via traffic sites and twitter, but it's all a bit confusing - what's opened, closed, contra-flow, etc...

Can anyone with any detailed knowledge of the vicinity of this part of Kent tell me if I should be considering detouring away from M20 J7-8, possibly via M2 and cutting across down to Ashford?


This will really depend on the day. If the M20 is gridlocked, then unfortunately most of the local roads will be Sad

If you want to use the M2, come off at the Darenth interchange - think it's Jct 2 of M25 and head towards Canterbury on A2 - it's all dual carriageway - then take A28 from Canterbury to Ashford and join M20 at Jct 10a. Jct 11 is likely to be closed for coast/eurotunnel bound travel if there are crossing delays, so if you did a loop down to Dover & back to Folkestone, you would have to go to Ashford to get to Eurotunnel. Also applies if you go past Canterbury and take the A260.

The M20 has a contra flow - Operation Brock/bain of our lives between Jcts 8 & 9. Depending on lorry stacking will determine if this is full and therefore diverted to A20. If it's open it's 2 lanes for a few miles, but then goes into a single lane. This is because they were removing OP Brock and hadn't finished the works when P&O pulled the fast one.


https://www.kenttraffic.info/ may be of use.

Good luck and have a good trip snowHead



M20 J8-J9 closed again today. Other half left Detling Hill at 4.15pm for sub 30min normal trip home, he arrived at 5.55pm. J7 to J8 took over 1 hr to travel 4miles. DFDS have said today they now don't have any capacity for P&O customers for Fri, Sat and Sun so that will push more onto Eurotunnel. I would plan journeys expecting M20 to be closed. As Knackered Knees has said, the M20 traffic is pushed onto the A20, local traffic will divert onto the smaller roads, which will prove for some interesting journeys for vans and lorries following their satnavs down single track roads Toofy Grin . Plan for a shocking journey to Eurotunnel/Dover and you might be pleasantly surprised.

To those travelling this weekend, good luck, try not to get too stressed and enjoy the snow and skiing Very Happy
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Oh dear. We are aiming to get to Dover Port around 10am on Friday morning. Is this usually just after rush hour or are all bets off? Thanks
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Assuming you have a confirmed non P&O crossing? The roads around Dover today are snarled up with lorries. I would check Google maps on your intended travel plan for the next 2 days for the time you plan to leave and arrive at Dover (not sure where you are travelling from) so you get a feel for revised routes and timings.
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Thanks for the advice all! Especially the local info @knackered_knees and @sueymagoo . I think our consciences can cope with them missing a couple of hours of primary school, if the alternative is hours of delays. It looks like it might be hours of delays even if we set off first thing on Friday morning!

How does it work with the fully flexPlus ticket, if we turn up early will they really pack us onto the earlier slot?

I just checked their website and the whole day is booked out so I don't quite know how they can move us earlier if it's fully booked? Puzzled
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Eurotunnel is so fluid often you end up on a train you haven’t booked (we always end up with an earlier train even without flexi plus). Because of this it’s easy for them to just manage the numbers as they come through the check in and if you have a flexi plus you just go on the next available.
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jellyspoons wrote:
Thanks for the advice all! Especially the local info @knackered_knees and @sueymagoo . I think our consciences can cope with them missing a couple of hours of primary school, if the alternative is hours of delays. It looks like it might be hours of delays even if we set off first thing on Friday morning!

How does it work with the fully flexPlus ticket, if we turn up early will they really pack us onto the earlier slot?

I just checked their website and the whole day is booked out so I don't quite know how they can move us earlier if it's fully booked? Puzzled


TBH travelling to the Channel this weekend will be a lottery. We've only travelled ET for quite a number of years given our proximity and only once or twice on flexi tickets.

I don't work for ET so this is only based on our experience (we have driven 3 to 4 times a season for the last ??? years Embarassed ).

ET will know this weekend will be a ****fest in terms of travel in the UK. If you turn up early and in time for an earlier crossing you should get offered that alternative if they have non-checked-in capacity (especially if you have a flexible ticket). They won't want to send partially filled trains out with a backlog of cars stacked up in the car park. That has been our experience on standard tickets especially this year and we got earlier crossings in Dec, Jan and Mar before this latest debacle.
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We did a very similar journey last Friday; set off at c. 2:30pm, but the M20 was closed for Operation Brock and huge delays all around. Also on arrival at Eurotunnel it was one long queue round the car park to the two lots of passport control - barely moving. We should’ve been on the 7:50 crossing but ended up I think on the 8:36 (despite having arrived at Eurotunnel at about 6:15pm) so only got to our stopover at Saint-Quentin at 11:45pm (French time). I would take the kids out of school for the morning if you can and if you are hoping to get to Dijon for a stopover.
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If you read the reports as to what was causing issues last week it was due to a lack of ferries. Not just P&O not running but also because a ferry ran into one of the docks in Dunkirk which put it out of action until Tuesday this week. So it maybe that things are better come Friday.

Unfortunately we have to travel Saturday morning as my friend is a teacher and can’t leave work early and lives in the midlands, so we will be spending the night in Ashford
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A lot of schools finished last Friday, so you also don’t have the whole country travelling.

As I’ve said before, Eurotunnel are fine until something goes wrong. Last Friday they lost their IT systems and then had train stuck, causing 2 days of chaos.

With no issues Friday will be busy and probably running a little late, but will move
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@Boris, indeed … even in the height of crush in the docks last friday, ferry staff were doing a brilliant job at moving things. In the event we were delayed by five hours, but after a slightly late start the following morning from the hotel an hour from Calais we still made CH at the normal time.
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Skimiddle wrote:
We did a very similar journey last Friday; set off at c. 2:30pm, but the M20 was closed for Operation Brock and huge delays all around. Also on arrival at Eurotunnel it was one long queue round the car park to the two lots of passport control - barely moving. We should’ve been on the 7:50 crossing but ended up I think on the 8:36 (despite having arrived at Eurotunnel at about 6:15pm) so only got to our stopover at Saint-Quentin at 11:45pm (French time). I would take the kids out of school for the morning if you can and if you are hoping to get to Dijon for a stopover.


Agree with this, otherwise eta for Dijon will start looking like the time you'll want to leave there for further journey.

Often drive that route, onto M25 at jnct 10 for us and running at speed limits majority of journey, plus any stops etc it's usually a 50mph overall average. That's without any delay. Heathrow area to Dijon is 500miles and so you're on for 10 hours in a straightforward uninterrupted journey. Add in expected current delays to give realistic assessment.

Take the extra time in leaving early, all that will happen is that you may arrive Dijon ahead of target, but significantly less frazzled Very Happy
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giddyman wrote:
We're crossing via the Eurotunnel on Saturday, travelling down from the North-East. I'm trying to track the status of the roads via traffic sites and twitter, but it's all a bit confusing - what's opened, closed, contra-flow, etc...

Can anyone with any detailed knowledge of the vicinity of this part of Kent tell me if I should be considering detouring away from M20 J7-8, possibly via M2 and cutting across down to Ashford?
Be warned that they are filtering traffic at the M2/A2 junction just north of Canterbury to stop lorries bypassing Op Brock and this will cause delays. Option is to use A251 from Faversham to Ashford which is the way I normally go to ET even when traffic is clear.
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BergenBergen wrote:
giddyman wrote:
We're crossing via the Eurotunnel on Saturday, travelling down from the North-East. I'm trying to track the status of the roads via traffic sites and twitter, but it's all a bit confusing - what's opened, closed, contra-flow, etc...

Can anyone with any detailed knowledge of the vicinity of this part of Kent tell me if I should be considering detouring away from M20 J7-8, possibly via M2 and cutting across down to Ashford?
Be warned that they are filtering traffic at the M2/A2 junction just north of Canterbury to stop lorries bypassing Op Brock and this will cause delays. Option is to use A251 from Faversham to Ashford which is the way I normally go to ET even when traffic is clear.


And A20 is closed between Folkestone and Dover. Closure is from Jct 13 of M20. Jubilee Way - A2 down to the docks in Dover - is also closed.

I mentioned in an earlier reply to @Giddyman to look at A28, but if they are filtering traffic at the M2/A2 interchange, then the A251 will be better as @BergenBergen says.

DFDS are at capacity for this weekend and Eurotunnel will be implementing their peak travel protocols, which means they may turn away vehicles if they arrive too early for their booking. Damned if you give yourself time, damned if you don't Mad
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Taking the kids out of school is only one issue, it's also taking a day off work. And for many of us days off are not to be squandered.
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After last weekends airport fiasco which is the last of a long line of hassle we're going to drive out next time, from Edinburgh ! Will leave thu after school and visit grandparents for the night, next morning it's 4h to tunnel then push on for a couple of hours and stop for the night, have dinner. Get up next AM and roll down to Les Gets as usual. While it's a firking long way i'd rather do that than fly these days esp. with 4 of us.
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Thanks for all the useful information and responses.

I've accepted it's out of my hands, and just going to try and take any delays on the chin and not get too stressed. Hopefully last weekend was simply a 'perfect storm' of events that won't be repeated this weekend...
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Based on freight friends experiences this week - mayhem on the roads
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jellyspoons wrote:
We're driving out to Alpe Dhuez (oz en oisans) on Friday (8th April). We live about 2 to 2.5 hours drive (without major traffic) from the eurotunnel and have to go around the m25 anti clockwise from Heathrow to the m20. The aim is to get to a 24hr hotel near dijon around midnight to 1am latest.

The kids school finishes at lunchtime and we're debating whether to take them out of school for that morning so we can leave earlier.

It seems last Friday was pretty horrendous with lots of long queues and chaos. P+o ferries being suspended might mean more pressure on chunnel? We're wondering if this week will be even worse...

We have fully flexible tickets
What would other snowheads do?

Thanks all!


We were in the last Friday mess. We left SW London at 1pm for a 5:20pm crossing. Check in closed at 4:20pm. We made it to the M20 at around half 2 and then chaos ensued. We debated waiting it out but opted to trust Google maps which took us on a roundabout route where we ended up getting to checking with minutes to spare. We got off the M20 and onto the A20 and back on the M20 just after AShford. There was nothing coming up the mototway so in hindsight getting off was completely the right call though crawling through country lanes etc it certainly didn't feel that way. They said it was an accident. Others said it was Operation Stack. Either way it was the worst kind of nightmare, but we were lucky and got through ok.

I would just go a little earlier if you can. Hungry kids stuck in a jam that doen't move is everyone's worst nightmare.
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Don’t, having spent 1.5 hours doing a 20 min trip home from work to Ashford
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leaving tomorrow at 3;30am, I'm 1 hour from the tunnel and don't hit a single traffic light on the way.
The plan is to hit L2A in one go from Calais.
Not that it's Friday or the weekend but I will send an update on the stack and conditions at the tunnel when I'm through.
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@Noakes, we are sailing Friday to get to L2A Saturday. Let us know how you get on.
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Leaving Bristol for Tignes on Friday also stopping Dijon!, updates appreciated..
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@Boarderfarce, M20 was closed @ J8 with diversion down the A20 past Lenham then back on the M20 (don’t que with the lorries, drive round them and cut back in) 1 junction before the tunnel slip road.
No waiting at the tunnel, check in was quick and was put on an earlier train.

However, if you’re travelling tomorrow or the weekend I’d leave plenty of time to follow the A20 diversion it added about 15min on my journey that was at 4 am…
Safe travels
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https://www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/four-m20-junctions-closed-as-brock-zero-brought-in-265169/
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Does anyone know what to expect coming back through tunnel/M20 with operation Brock?
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@HilbertSpace, should be fine coming back when in Kent
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We travelled last Friday, from J21 of the M25 - it’s a 2h/30 journey to Dover. (We we’re getting a ferry) Left home at 3pm, (kids half day at school) arrived in Dover at 6,30 and then queued into the ferry terminal. This part was ‘gridlock’ and it took us 4 hours through the port and onto a ferry. There was no way round that last bit… whatever your ferry ticket was it was “first come first served” due to the queue. We got a 1055pm ferry and arrived at our overnight stay in Reims at 4:15am local time….Dijon is another 3hrs on.

I realise you are going via Chunnel, so you won’t have the issue of getting to the ferry port. Still I thought this feedback would be useful.

It felt to us that we were ‘just’ ahead of the worst of the traffic. M20 was closed and we went down the M2/A2 but we travel clockwise round M25 so that junction is closer anyhow.

I can only imagine it will be worse this week.

If you are not bothered with taking the kids out of school, I would do that.
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(I should add, we had a P&O ticket for a 655pm sailing…. I had bought a DFDS ticket as soon as the news of P&O’s appalling behaviour was reported. It was for a 0015 sailing and the best I could get. The DFDS ferry crossing was good, clean modern ferry and ‘free’ food vouchers for curry/chilli/fish and chips… at £84 with the food thrown in for a family of 5 - can’t fault the value. I won’t be using P&O in the future)
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@Noakes, thanks who knows might see you in resort. Good luck with the crossing sea looks pretty rough today.
Thanks all really useful info and advice.
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