M20

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M20
Location Map
Cameraicon.png View gallery (74)
From:  Swanley (TQ527679)
To:  Folkestone (TR212377)
Via:  Maidstone
Distance:  52 miles (83.7 km)
Meets:  M25, M26, A20
Former Number(s):  A20(M)
Primary Destinations
Ashford • Channel Tunnel
Highway Authorities

Highways England

Traditional Counties

Kent

Route outline (key)
M20 Swanley – Folkestone
Junction List
Junc Northbound Southbound
1 M25, A20, B2173 Start of Road
Services symbol.gif West Kingsdown services
' Temporary Start of Road A20
2 No Exit A20, (A227)
3 M26 No Exit
4 A228 A228
5 A20 via J6 A20
6 A229 A229
7 A249 A249
Services symbol.gif Honeyhills Wood
8 A20 A20
Services symbol.gif Maidstone services (at J8)
9 A20, A251 A20, A251
10 A20, A2070 A20, A2070
10A A20, A2070 A20, A2070
11 A20, B2068 A20, B2068
Services symbol.gif Stop 24 (Folkestone) Services (at J11)
11A No Exit Channel Tunnel
12 A20, B2064 A20, B2064
13 Start of Road A20, A259
Globe.png
For detailed information about this topic, see Roads.org.uk Motorway Database

The M20 is the London to Folkestone motorway. It is the principal route to the Channel Tunnel from the rest of Britain, and hence one of the busiest. It is notorious for Operation Stack, a congestion managing scheme where goods vehicles queueing for the tunnel and cross-channel ferries are "stacked" along the mainline of the motorway.

Part of the motorway was one of the first to open in Britain, as the A20(M) Maidstone Bypass in 1961, but the motorway was never considered particularly important to complete east of Maidstone, and it was only the imminent opening of the tunnel which forced the final section between Leeds Castle and Ashford to be built, opening in 1991.

Route

The M20 shadows the route of the A20 for its entire length, and many junctions are with the road, or have access to it nearby. The motorway begins at junction 3 of the M25. The mainline is a continuation of the A20 Swanley Bypass, while traffic joins from the at-grade roundabout from the south, or from the grade-separated access coming from the Dartford Crossing. The first section of the motorway is surprisingly hilly as it crosses the Darent Valley, with a long descent from junction 2 with the A20 at the top of Wrotham Hill to junction 3 with the M26 at the bottom. Most traffic from the southern section of the M25 joins at this point.

After junction 4 with the A228, providing access to relatively new housing development around Snodland and King's Hill, the M20 begins bypassing Maidstone at junction 5. From here to the next junction, there are a combination of collector / distributor lanes to avoid congestion on the mainline by traffic simply trying to jump from one part of the town to the other. Junction 6 provides access to the M2 via the A229 up Blue Bell Hill, while junction 7 is the main route to the port of Ramsgate via the A249 up Detling Hill.

The M20 now passes through fairly uneventful flat and uneventful countryside, shadowing the route of High Speed 1 and the Eurostar which runs alongside it. Junction 8 is for Leeds Castle and Maidstone services, after which there's a long gap to Junction 9 to the west of Ashford. Junction 10 is a mile later, and is the main signposted route for the station and the A2070 to Hastings, and consequently is regularly congested, with numerous traffic lights attempting to keep everything flowing.

The M20 continues to follow the railway route towards the Channel Tunnel. The A20 is never far away and crosses over the motorway several times at Sellinge and Westenhanger. Junction 11 is for the B2068 (the Roman Stone Street, and a back route to Canterbury) and the Stop 24 Folkestone services, while shortly afterwards, J11a is the main vehicular entrance for the Channel Tunnel. Having lost off a significant amount of long-distance traffic, the M20 drops to two lanes at Junction 12 near Cheriton, and then ends at Junction 13 north of Folkestone. The A20 picks up the baton for traffic, passing underneath Roundhill Tunnel and heading towards Dover Docks.

Junctions

Swanley Interchange

Swanley Interchange.PNG
Main Article: Swanley Interchange

Swanley Interchange is the northern terminus of M20, where it meets M25 and A20. It is a modified three-level roundabout with direct-access slips between M20 and M25 to the north.

Services

Maidstone services

M20 Maidstone Motorway services - Geograph - 1166271.jpg
Main Article: Maidstone services

Maidstone is a single-site MSA located at junction 8, and is operated by RoadChef.

Folkestone services

M20 J11 Services - Geograph - 400410.jpg
Main Article: Folkestone services

Folkestone Services are one of the newest on the British motorway network, opening in 2008. They are operated by Stop 24, under which name it is signed rather than "Folkestone".

Opening Dates

For detailed information about this section, see Roads.org.uk Motorway Database: M20 Timeline

Traffic Data

From http://www.dft.gov.uk/traffic-counts/

Link 2002 AADF 2006 AADF 2010 AADF 2014 AADF
J1 34552 36389 33497 36335
J1-2 63014 58281 54390 55411
J2 51550 50467 59086 51650
J2-3 52212 46966 48551 49514
J3-4 107745 105917 99298 100714
J4-5 119586 121044 121063 125940
J5-6 124720 126450 79535 132238
J6-7 103283 105517 108551 116863
J7-8 74995 75825 70808 74442
J8-A20 24547 25571 24687 25745
J8-9 53081 58986 56739 55497
J9-10 53483 58608 36298 63530
J10-11 47796 50599 49991 50937
J11-11a 49514 53288 46690 49699
J11a-12 42384 45715 45096 45111
J12-13 43020 51635 53977 54954

Links

Roads.org.uk

Roads UK

Motorway Services Online

Photo Galleries

This is the layout of the M20 as it was in 1978. Notice the junction between West Kingsdown & the current J3.



M20
JunctionsAddington Interchange • Aylesford Interchange • Beachborough Cross Roads • Castle Hill Interchange • Cheriton Interchange • Hollingbourne Interchange • Lacton Interchange • Leybourne Interchange • M20 J7 • M20 J9 • Sandling Interchange • Sevington Interchange • Stanford Interchange • Swanley Interchange • Wrotham Heath Interchange • Wrotham Hill Interchange
ServicesEurotunnel UK Terminal • Folkestone services • Maidstone services • West Kingsdown services
CrossingsChannel Tunnel
RoadsE15 • E2 (Old System) • E5 (Old System)
PlacesAshford • Folkestone • London • Maidstone • Swanley
MiscellaneousM20/Operation Brock • M20/Operation Stack
Related Pictures
View gallery (74)
M20 at Junction 11a (E) - 1 - Coppermine - 4358.jpgM20 at Junction 11a (E) - 2 - Coppermine - 4357.jpgM20 closure - Coppermine - 10176.jpgM20 motorway construction at Sandyhurst Lane - Geograph - 1446589.jpgPostcard 10 - Coppermine - 1215.jpg
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