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More evidence required on A229 Bluebell Hill upgrade options - say Medway Liberal Democrats

November 19, 2020 10:16 AM
By Medway Liberal Democrats - Andrew Millsom/John Castle

A229 Bluebell HillThe KCC consultation on the upgrade options for the A229 at Bluebell Hill, to address increased traffic flow triggered by the future opening of the Lower Thames Crossing, were not sufficiently progressed. All options presented had significant shortcomings. Both Medway and Maidstone Lib Dem groups have responded to the consultation by saying the proposals lack evidence and may mean that they do not go far enough. Supporting evidence for the changes is vital in order to secure the backing of both communities for the major changes required.

Maidstone and Medway Lib Dem groups have both broadly backed Option 2, with some reservations and suggested improvements. Environmental protections are vitally important in the design of the upgrade. A grade separated junction at J3 on the M2 is required to ensure the continuous flow of traffic heading eastbound from the Lower Thames Crossing joining the A229 southbound. This additional slip road and bridge would handle the increased volume, whilst separating local and national traffic. The upgrade from the A229 on the M20 heading eastbound towards the coast is also important for the same reasons of flow and separation of traffic.

Heading from the coast on the M20, joining the A229 northbound is a cause of contention. Here the evidence required to justify any proposal is crucial to the success of the proposals. If the traffic flow increase is significant in this direction, there is an argument that all the proposed options fail to provide a long term solution. Andrew Millsom, a parish councillor and chartered engineer said, "I believe the increased traffic flow from the coast heading north will be sufficient to justify the construction of a grade separated slip road to ensure that local and national traffic is kept separate and ensure continuous flow.

The lack of evidence regarding increased traffic flows is a major issue in these proposals, the upgrade will be difficult to justify to residents without the detailed analyses. It would be preferable to have a single construction period that provides a long term viable solution rather than a piecemeal approach. If the evidence clearly shows none of the proposed options are viable, we believe both communities will back the major changes required."