The M20 runs from London to Folkestone, creating an important pathway from the Channel Ports into the capital city. This three-lane motorway merges from the A20 and passes through Maidstone, Ashford in the southeastern part of the UK.
The M20 is the main route from London to the Channel crossing and even onto Dover, via the extension of the A20. With access into Europe, this 52-mile stretch is bustling with lorries, taking trade to and from Calais.
Construction began in the 1950s where roadworks improved the Maidstone Bypass both east and west. This first developed and opened as the A20(M) in 1961. Construction continued in sections, working its way from Ditton to Sellindge. It wasn't until much later when they connected these roads around Ashford and improved conditions close to the Channel Tunnel. This had the aim of navigating traffic away from the M2, which eventually made up the M20 we know today.
Worst Junctions on the M20
The M20 is 52 miles long and it’s one of the most frequently used routes into London, especially for traffic coming from Calais. With junctions exiting to other major motorways, these are some of the worst junctions for congestion. To ensure you’re allowing yourself enough time to travel, check out the RAC Route Planner for M20 travel updates before you set off on your journey.
This junction is at the start of the M20, with heavy traffic flowing eastbound from London along the A20(M). With exits for the Dartford Crossing, Gatwick Airport and key routes to the west, all via the orbiting M25, this is a busy interchange to navigate.
This junction exits to the A20 onto the A261 into Hythe and to the B2068, which leads to Canterbury. It’s also one of the last junctions before the Channel Tunnel and exits onto a major rest stop for truckers making the crossing. This means slow-moving, heavy loading vehicles frequently use this roundabout causing traffic to build up.
Accident Hotspots on the M20
The M20 is a major link to Europe and attracts a variety of vehicles, from towing trucks and load bearing lorries, to cars and caravans. As a result, the M20 is one of the most frequently used networks in the UK. When driving along the M20, be mindful of the below accident hotspots. Keep up to date with major M20 traffic news by preparing ahead of time with the RAC Route Planner.
Supporting one of the main routes into Maidstone, and exiting onto the only road leading to the Isle of Sheppey, Junction 7 links to the bustling A249. Thankfully the updated road markings will help you navigate to your exit but, do take extra care around this junction.
A major pit-stop for international drivers coming from Folkestone and the crossing, junction 11 has been known to suffer from problems, with heavy levels of traffic on the two-lane roundabout.
Junction 1 is particularly busy - and requires lots of drivers to switch lanes to navigate to their destination. That can cause issues for confused road users and lead to accidents.
Upcoming M20 Major Roadworks
As the M20 is the main route from London to the Channel Ports, there is always room to maintain and improve conditions along this road. As roadworks can cause delays, keep up to date with any M20 travel news by viewing the RAC Route Planner app to see any reported M20 traffic updates.
Upcoming major roadworks on the M20 include:
Junction 10a - Construction has already begun to create a new junction. It will link the M20 with the A2070, which travels past the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. This major scheme is set to end in 2019.
Junction 3 to Junction 5 - Work to upgrade this 6.5 mile stretch of the M20 into a smart motorway is ongoing. This aims to improve congestion and is set to be finished in 2020.