The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.
Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.
Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.
The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.
On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.
DOVER PORT INFO | Please allow 120 minutes to complete the check in process & border controls at the Port. Upon arrival at check-in, we will accommodate you onto the next available sailing #dfdsinfo pic.twitter.com/SMC9dve93J
— DFDS UK Updates (@DFDSUKUpdates) July 28, 2022
In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.
Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos.
But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.
The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.