M20 motorway

The M20 motorway is a major road in England. The motorway runs from London to Folkestone in Kent and is 52 miles long.


Route of the M20

The road starts at its junction with the M25 motorway and A20 road just east of Swanley, then continues south east, past Maidstone and Ashford on its way to Folkestone. The Channel Tunnel terminal is connected to junctions 11a and 12 of the motorway. Access is given to roads leading to the Medway Towns, Canterbury and Tonbridge.

List of Junctions

The M20 ends at J13, however the A20 continues as a motorway-standard dual carrigeway to Dover.


The first section of the M20 opened in 1960 when the Maidstone by-pass (the stretch between present day J5-J8) was opened. This road was then known as the A20(M) as it bypassed the stretch of A20 through Maidstone which was renumbered A2020. When the motorway was extended westwards towards London in the 1970s, it was renamed M20 and the A2020 reverted back to A20.

In the 1980s the motorway between Ashford and Folkestone (J9-13) was built, but by 1981 the M20 was in 2 pieces separated by a 14 mile gap between Junctions 8 and 9. Motorists had to use the A20 for this part of their journey. Filling in the gap, known locally as "The Missing Link" took another 10 years - it was only when the Channel Tunnel was given the go-ahead that it was decided to complete the M20 allowing motorists to drive fron London directly into the terminal. A new junction, 11a, was added to allow access to the Tunnel.

In the early 1990s the stretch of M20 around Maidstone and the junctions there were revamped to allow for more traffic and to ease congestion, as this was a busy stretch of road. The motorway's first (and currently only) service station has recently opened at J8 outside Maidstone.

There are currently plans to alter the layout of Junction 10, as it has become a serious bottleneck at peak times. The junction will either be heavily redesigned, or a second junction (10a) will be constructed a short distance southbound to cope with the expected traffic that the continued house building in Ashford will generate.

Since the opening of the Channel Tunnel the road between junctions 11 and 12 are occassionally used for the implementation of Operation Stack, should the ferrys or Channel Tunnel stop running. This closes the motorway between the two junctions and uses the area as a lorry park until the ferries and Channel Tunnel are fully running again. This system is a controversial subject and is currently under close scrutiny, plans to use contraflow systems are currently being looked at. Operation Stack also recently resulted in Junctions 8 - 9 being utilised, and the speed limit being reduced to 40mph. This was seen by many motorists as an excuse to use speed cameras a revenue collecting device.

See also: List of motorways in the United Kingdom

External link

CBRD Motorway Database - M20 (http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/20.shtml)no:M20 (motorvei)


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