KENT police are advising British holidaymakers travelling through Dover to prepare themselves for severe delays by bringing vital supplies for the journey, although the horrific 15 hour delays witnessed last weekend are not expected to resurface.
A combination of sheer gridlock and volume, alongside stringent security checks from French security forces following the terrorist atrocity in Nice caused major delays on July 24 with 12 mile tailbacks and thousands of stranded travellers suffering in the unusual heat.
“Motorists planning to travel towards Dover this weekend are being advised to take plenty of food and water before setting off,” said a Kent police spokesman.
“Those planning to use the roads towards Dover are being urged to check the latest travel updates from Highways England and their travel operator, and take adequate provisions and any medication in case there is disruption.”
Heavy congestion over the summer period has led to a travelling phenomenon known as ‘Black Saturday’ which sees those returning from holidays abroad clash with those setting off, leading to chaos at checkpoints and adding hours to journeys. Motorists are being advised to delay travel until Sunday and another peak ‘Black Saturday’ is expected on August 6.
Rosie Sanderson, of the AA’s international motoring team, spelled out the potential trouble ahead.
“This weekend marks the end of the July holiday for many French families and the beginning of the August one for others,” she said.
“This means delays can be expected on the arterial French road network on the next two Saturdays, particularly for families heading for the French south coast.
“We believe the British drivers could be caught up in congestion on the traditional Autoroute du Soleil via Lyon, as well as routes via Bordeaux to the south west and through Clermont-Ferrand.
“We believe congestion should ease on the Sunday, so that might be the best time to travel, if you can.”
The situation is complicated by ongoing heightened security measures in place across the continent but especially in France, which has dispatched soldiers and armed police to crowded public areas and transport hubs, including Calais, the site of sprawling refugee camps.
Reports have emerged suggesting that Britain-bound ferries could be targeted by terrorists taking advantage of the chaos and congestion, and France has taken drastic measures to prevent any incident in effect destroying lucrative cross border tourist business.