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Newsletter no: 1, november 2002

Newsletter no: 1, november 2002

Newsletter No: 1, November 2002

Way forward for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury scheme

In 2001 Ministers announced that further feasibility studies would be undertaken into an on-line dualling.

Come and see the present plans at an exhibition.

images of Castle Hill and Longfield Road

Benefits of the Proposed Scheme

  • Provides the 'missing link' between Tonbridge and Pembury bypasses.
  • Removes bottlenecks at Castle Hill and Longfield Road roundabout.
  • Segregation of local access traffic and through traffic.
  • Reduction in accident rates.
  • Improved facilities for cyclists, horse riders and walkers, particularly ease of access across the A21 to the Pembury Walks area.

Why the long delay?

In 1997 the Government reviewed the need for road improvements in the light of the greater emphasis to be placed on multi-modal solutions to transport problems and to minimise the impact on the environment.

This led to the commissioning of multi modal studies, and in November 1999 the Government commenced the 'Access to Hastings' study, within which the Tonbridge to Pembury scheme was examined.

In November 2000 the study report recommended that further consideration should be given to an on-line solution which would result in the A21 being upgraded to dual 2-lane standard.

In 2001/02 we and our consultants have considered a large number of options for providing a dual carriageway of acceptable standard on or as close as possible to the line of the existing road.

2 Lane Dual Carriageway

The original traffic study undertaken for the Tonbridge - Pembury Dualling in the early 90's concluded a need for a 3 lane dual carriageway based on the forecast volume oftraffic for the road.

Since the original study a number of changes have occurred. The two principal changes being:

  • the levels of traffic growth forecast by Central Government have been reestimated to a lower level; and
  • the general way in which 'local' traffic is assumed to grow has been re-assessed.

This has resulted in 'scaling down' of the anticipated traffic demand for the improvement section, making a 2 lane dual carriageway more appropriate. This has the added benefit of a reduction in land take and the resulting environmental impact.

Design Speed

The 'Access to Hastings' study report recommended that consideration should be given to a reduced 50 mph design speed. However, the 50 mph design was not considered appropriate due to the need to provide a two level junction at Longfield Road to accommodate local traffic from adjacent proposed developments. A 50 mph speed limit on a section with twolevel junctions at both ends would be difficult to enforce and lead to driver frustration which in turn could lead to an increase in accidents.

The scheme has been designed therefore to 70 mph to match the speed limits of the existing dual carriageways at either end of the scheme. This provides road users with a continuity in speed limits and will contribute to a safer road and to a reduction in journey times.

In addition, a safer environment would be created by separating local access onto local feeder roads which would also be used by pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists.

Map of A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Scheme

Some facts about the scheme

  • There will be approximately 4km of work along the main carriageway, including tieins to the existing dual carriageways at each end. In addition, there will be approximately 4km of works on side roads.
  • The estimated cost for the construction works is £30m.
  • The scheme has been designed as a 2 lane, all purpose dual carriageway road and will have 2 x 3.65m lanes, 1m hard strips and grass verges on each side.
  • The A21 at Castle Hill currently carries about 46500 vehicles per day (both directions combined) and with the scheme this is expected to rise to about 60000 veh/day in the opening year (2007) and 69000 veh/day in 2020.
  • Approximately 25 hectares of land will need to be acquired to construct the scheme. This includes the land required for proposed landscaping.

What happens next?

Following the exhibition a report will be prepared for the Minister setting out how the proposals have developed from the recommendations of the 'Access to Hastings' study. The Report will include the responses made by the public, Local Authorities, Statutory Bodies and other interested parties. From this Report the Minister will then decide whether he is content to proceed with the scheme as set out here and at the exhibition.

If the Minister decides to proceed with the scheme in its present form, a contractor will be appointed at an early stage to assist in the further development of the scheme. AnEnvironmental Statement and draft Orders under the Highways Act will then be published. The early appointment of a contractor will result in:

  • Better value for money by ensuring that the scheme is built in the most efficient manner, and
  • The contractors chosen method of working can be reflected in the Environmental Statement.

The Environmental Statement and draft Orders will be open to objection and a Public Inquiry will be held if necessary. If there is a favourable decision following the Inquiry then the contractor will be in a position to start work soon after.

Subject to the satisfactory completion of these statutory procedures, it is expected that construction of the scheme could commence in 2005/6.

Communications

As part of the planning and design process we will be issuing regular newsletters in order to keep local people informed of progress on the scheme.

We will also be setting up a page on the Highway Agency web site (www.highways.gov.uk) where you will be able to see updates on the current status of the scheme. In addition you will be able to give your views on the proposals as they develop or make suggestions for further improvement.

It is expected that this will bring a localised input to issues that need to be considered during the development of the scheme.

Those people living adjacent to the scheme or with a direct interest will be automatically included on our mailing list. If you wish your name to be added to the list and to receive regular updates on progress please write to us at the address opposite, email us, or leave your name and address with one of our staff at the exhibition.

Remains of two Iron Age hill fortsRemains of two Iron Age hill forts exist on Castle Hill. This is just one of the areas of environmental interest to be considered.



Exhibition

We are holding an exhibition to show the scheme as presently proposed.

This will also provide an opportunity for those with particular concerns to discuss them with representatives from the Highways Agency and their consultants Atkins.

The exhibition will be held at:

Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls,
Tudeley Lane, Tonbridge

on

Friday 22 November 2002 - 4.00pm to 9.00pm

and

Saturday 23 November 2002 - 10.00am to 4.00pm


Further Information

If you want to discuss or write to us about an issue please contact either of the following by Friday December 20, 2002:

David Pocknall on 01306 878226
(Project Team Leader)

or

Peter Minshull on 01306 878134
(Project Manager)

at
Highways Agency
Operations Directorate
Room 4B
Federated House
London Road
DORKING
Surrey RH4 1SZ

Or e-mail
a21tonbridgepembury@highways.gsi.gov.uk