Holidaymakers have been warned they could face a summer with repeated weekend travel disruption after lengthy queues in Kent were finally reduced on Sunday following days of gridlocked roads.
Chaotic scenes of bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching for miles marred the beginning of the getaway as schools broke up for the holidays.
While disruption at Dover had cleared by Sunday morning, the AA branded Folkestone the new “hotspot of holiday hell” as people faced lengthy delays on approach to the Eurotunnel.
The motoring organisation said long waits at Folkestone had “fallen considerably” by late afternoon but raised concerns that such congestion could be repeated this summer.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “This has been an incredible weekend of traffic jams into Dover and Folkestone, and holidaymakers will have been frustrated and angry at the delays.
“Good progress has been made throughout the day and those waiting for more than five hours before reaching the check-in desk has fallen considerably. We hope that by tonight we should be back to usual traffic levels.
“However, we are concerned that we could be in for a repeat of this congestion across the summer.
“Drivers due to use both Dover and Folkestone to head into Europe on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday mornings between now and the reopening of schools may see a repetition of these delays across the summer.”
The Port of Dover has said the fact it was able to clear traffic this weekend demonstrates that its “summer plan will work for the rest of the holiday period” – but the AA said “significant progress” would be needed to help reduce congestion in the weeks ahead.
With the M20 coastbound closed to non-freight traffic as