Holidaymakers hoping to travel to France have been told to expect a third day of disruption as the Eurotunnel was hit by long queues of traffic trying to reach Dover.
Passengers hoping to cross the Channel on Sunday were told to expect delays of at least two hours due to miles of tailbacks to get to the ferry terminals.
A day after authorities declared a critical incident at Dover, officials were handing out food and water to those stuck on the way to the Eurotunnel crossing in Folkestone.
National Highways warned holidaymakers travelling to France to expect severe delays in Kent on Sunday.
About 600 lorries were parked on the M20 as part of Operation Brock, which is designed to keep non-freight traffic moving when there is disruption to travel across the Channel.
The disruption sparked a war of words on both sides of the Channel as British authorities accused their French counterparts of not sufficiently staffing the border, while Calais politicians blamed Brexit for the additional checks.
The Port of Dover said it had carried more than 33,000 passengers on Saturday on what was expected to be one of the busiest getaway weekends of the British summer.
Officials said another 6,500 cars would pass through its terminals on Sunday with wait times of between two and three hours. They said traffic was moving relatively smoothly in the early hours, although it was expected to build up later on.
Jack Cousens, heads of roads policy at the AA, said Folkestone would be the focus of disruption on Sunday due to the aftermath of the “bumper-to-bumper” chaos in Dover.
Two of the main roads towards the Eurotunnel – the A259 and A260 – were both gridlocked by 10am on Sunday as thousands of passengers headed for France at the start of the school summer holidays.
Cousens told Sky News: “We’ve had lorries being stacked as part of Operation Brock on part of the M20 and the subsequent diversion now on to the A20 – they now meet each other at the terminal at Junction 11a and that’s causing congestion.
“Our concern is the Eurotunnel is now gong to be the main problem of congestion, particularly in the south-east”.
People reported sleeping in their cars overnight as delays reached an average of about six hours on Saturday, although some waited much longer.
Andrew Dyer-Smith and his family, who are heading to France for their summer holiday, spent 21 hours in traffic on roads around Folkestone. “We arrived at Folkestone at 9am yesterday morning for a train at 10.30 and then have been slowly crawling along for the last 21-plus hours,” he told the BBC.
Natalie Chapman, from haulier group Logistics UK, said some lorry drivers had waited to cross the Channel for “well over 18 hours” in queues with no toilet facilities.
July 24, 2022 at 03:21PM Josh Halliday