The A20 between Borough Green and Coldharbour, Aylesford has been accepted as exceeding its capacity by Kent Highways, and is subject to high levels of congestion daily. It is also the emergency relief diversion route for M20 when closures occur. Can the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport please update the Council on the current progress on feasibility studies to relieve congestion particularly at junctions? In his reply will he please include the feasibility work being done on j5 slip roads to M25.
The County Council, as local Highway Authority, in recognition of the traffic levels on the A20 corridor as stated by Mrs Dean, has recently commissioned its consultants, Amey, to undertake a study of the A20 within Tonbridge and Malling Borough. The study will examine current and future travel demand at the key congestion hotspots and identify a range of potential improvements. These will be developed with a number of key objectives in mind, which include the need to assist traffic flow, accommodate future growth and enhance safety for vulnerable road users, whilst also promoting sustainable forms of transport.
KCC are working closely with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and an extension to the brief for the study is currently being discussed and will be the subject of an officer level meeting on 23rd September 2015. This will establish how the study can be progressed in a manner that assists the Borough Council's progression of their new Local Plan.
The scope of the study will encompass an assessment of travel demand and the development of potential options for improvement of the A20 corridor. It is anticipated that consultation with the community will be undertaken at a subsequent stage once the deliverability of any options to be taken forward can be confirmed. The arrangements for consultation are likely to be influenced by the Borough Council's Local Plan process, which will seek community input on the infrastructure necessary to support planned future growth.
Mrs Dean also asks about the feasibility work being done on the J5 slip roads to the M25. While -the responsibility for these roads lies with Highways England and is beyond the scope of the study brief outlined above, KCC are collaborating with Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and the Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC) in undertaking an economic study. The purpose of this study is to understand the economic case for improved connectivity between the A21 and the M25/M26 at a number of possible locations in the vicinity of Junction 5. The overall objective is to present evidence to Highways England that could potentially help boost the priority of these works for their delivery programme from 2021 onwards. The study is due to go out to the market shortly with the work to be commissioned during November.