Security Checks Cause 15-Hour Traffic Jam At French Border

British border agents are moving in to help French officials deal with gigantic backups for travelers trying to cross the English Channel into France.

The dangerous delays in Channel crossings come at the start of the British holiday season when tens of thousands of vacationers head to continental Europe. France is the traditional jumping-off point for car travel to Spain, Italy, Switzerland and other popular destinations.

French officials have expanded border checks during the state of emergency declared after repeated extremist attacks on civilians, and the increased security has led to the lines of stalled cars and trucks on the roads leading to Dover.

Kent police warned Sunday that motorists face waits of 10 hours or longer on major roads leading to the Dover ferry port or the Channel Tunnel for crossings to France. Police said travelers should try to stay off the highways and use smaller roads to avoid the traffic jams.

Travelers were advised to bring extra water and food on any journey involving a Channel crossing. Weather has been hot and humid, adding to the discomfort of stranded motorists.

Volunteers are delivering granola bars and bottled water to motorists and police helicopters are dropping water bottles to help the stranded travelers.

Ravi Singh, part of the volunteer group, said motorists were “very, very frustrated and pulling their hair out” because of the tie-ups and the lack of food, water and toilet facilities.

“We met a lot of young families with children, mostly people going on holidays, some heading back home to France,” he said. “There was just total frustration. People didn’t know what was going on. They could see the queues in front. I asked people what time their ferry was and they said they had already missed it.”

Some motorists complained of spending 15 hours in line as security procedures caused slowdowns. The problems began Friday night.

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