Plan to travel to UK from France by car? Not a good idea at all.
European vacationers struggling on Saturday to reach their destination have been experiencing huge traffic jams caused by migrants' recent activity in the Eurotunnel, which ceased its services overnight allowing the recent travel nightmare to happen.
M2 update: M2 has reportedly reopened coastbound after a caravan overturned earlier but traffic queued back past J5. pic.twitter.com/2OTlGgc15i— Kent 999s (@Kent_999s) July 25, 2015
Holidaymakers found themselves in a squeezed position on their way through the east Kent, a county dubbed the ‘garden of England' which is the main gateway to the European mainland, spending half-of the day on the M20 with Operation Stack.
Officials have preliminary issued warnings that the way to Channel crossings is briefly suspended; this notice together with extensive traffic led thousands of Europeans to reroute to the A20.
The Channel Tunnel is a 31.4-mile rail tunnel between Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom and Coquelles, near Calais, in northern France.
The M20 was closed by Eurotunnel for Operation Stack just before Friday midnight after hundreds of migrants targeted a French terminal point. By 11 a.m. long queues of cars in Folkestone were held up to five hours.
The Kent County Council's cabinet member for transport, Matthew Balfou, told the Observer the Kent situation was a nightmare.
"All the roads in east Kent get completely blocked up so people can't go to the shops, they can't get to the doctor, the hospital," he said, stressing a loss to the economy at an estimated £1.5 million per day.
Balfou also outlined that local shops experienced difficulties to get supplies, "And it means that people who run shops in the towns and the villages don't get their trade because people stay at home."
Don't advise going out in car unless absolutely necessary the whole of Kent appears to be at a standstill #operationstack— Joanne O'Callaghan (@ocallaghanjo) July 24, 2015
Hundreds of travelers aired discontent, posting photos of the traffic queue on Twitter while urging authorities to better deal with the migrant crisis, the British and French governments are failing to handle.
"Kent is a major gateway but once again that gate is well and truly shut," said Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation, the charity organization exploring issues related to roads.
"Operation Stack has become the rule rather than the exception, and on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year it is causing mayhem for hauliers, holidaymakers and local residents alike," he concluded.
Some have expressed concern that the migrant crisis in Calais will hit the British economy as holidaymakers' popular destination of the South-east has seen an increase in heavy traffic.
#operationstack is beyond a joke now. The continent needs to get on top of the migrant crisis they have!— Mark Denholm (@markdenholm) July 25, 2015
How did the French allow these refugees, who arrrived in southern Europe, to congregate in and around Calais? http://t.co/LpQh1nYNBH— Dave Dixon (@DaveDixon4) July 25, 2015
"The value of trade across the straits is somewhere in the region of £200 billion a year and it's being affected every single night. It's the goods going into our supermarkets. It's our exports. The governments have to take the responsibility for that and deliver some solutions, which so far they haven't achieved," said Eurotunnel's spokesman John Keefe.
It has been already the third week that Kent has seen the chaos because of Operation Stuck carried on.
The death of a teenager, whose body was found on the roof of a Channel Tunnel train on the border with the UK earlier this week, marked the ninth death of a migrant to die trying to cross the French-UK border.
Eurotunnel has since asked the British and French governments for $10.5 million (9.7 million euros) to help beef up security measures and prevent migrants bound for the UK from crossing the tunnel on foot. The British government has also issued a warning to holidaymakers set for France.
#OpStack remains in place. For non freight traffic the M20 is closed coast bound between Jct 8-11. Diversion in place via A20. ^ST— Eurotunnel LeShuttle (@LeShuttle) July 25, 2015