The government spent nearly £200,000 lining a motorway with cones to prepare for lorry queues for a potential no-deal Brexit…before removing them the next day.
Maintenance crews placed 7,500 cones along the M20 in Kent to create a contraflow system to deal with the lorry backlog expected if Britain had crashed out of the EU without a deal.
Officials feared delayed customs checks at cross-Channel ports would cause a pile-up of vehicles stemming from Dover.
Highways England told the website PoliticsHome it cost the taxpayer £107,000 to launch Operation Brock on October 28, just three days before the UK’s scheduled ‘Halloween’ exit from the EU.
But hours after Highways England staff started the costly job, Boris Johnson asked Brussels to extend the Article 50 deadline to January 31.
The request was approved, and Operation Brock was stood down leaving workers to remove the cones they had placed the previous day.
It cost a further £88,547, a Freedom of Information request revealed, and caused the M20 to be closed overnight, further disrupting travel.
A Highways England spokesperson told the Politics Home website: “The costs associated with the activation of the contraflow was £107,847.22.
“Installing and removing traffic management is a significant operation and is a main consideration in any road scheme.”
Highways England said the costs were accrued installing crossings in the central reservation and changing the road layout, as well as setting out 7,500 traffic cones and 350 signs.
The further costs “associated with the deactivation of the contraflow were £88,547.12.”