Published: 06:00, 02 August 2019
| Updated: 08:13, 02 August 2019
Eye-catching aerial pictures show how work is progressing on a multi-million pound junction over the M20.
The £104 million Junction 10a in Ashford project should open to traffic within a matter of months.
Plans for the huge scheme have been discussed for years, but drivers should soon be able to use the new roundabout for the first time soon, with highways bosses previously saying it is due to open in September.
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It is being built just 700 metres south east of Junction 10 and bosses hope it will relieve congestion on the existing roundabout as Ashford continues to increase in size.
Construction of the new roundabout began in January last year after then transport secretary Chris Grayling gave the green light, with the works due to end in May 2020.
The roundabout will open to traffic before that, but works will continue until next summer as contractors complete the project.
Last week, KentOnline reported how construction work on the scheme - which includes a link road to a new roundabout on the A2070 - may start being carried out on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
An application has been made by Highways England to extend working hours on the multi-million pound project.
Submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, the extensions seek to utilise the dry weather for groundworks.
Bosses at the Pilgrims Hospice on the A20, which is just a stone’s throw away from the construction site, say they are taking a "pragmatic view" about the proposed timetable changes.
A spokesman for the charity said: “The application is a minor change of one hour per day in the week and weekend working - if this helps to get the work completed sooner or on time we accept that it is reasonable.
“Pilgrims operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; the families we support come to us throughout this time so there are no specific 'quiet days or rest days' as such.
“The teams working on the project for Highways England have been very mindful of the nature of the work we do at Pilgrims and have done everything they can to be considerate.
“We understand the work is vital for the long term development of the surrounding area so we accept that this disruption is unavoidable.
“We would hope this extra push would help to bring the work to completion faster.”
When asked about the benefits the new junction could bring to the charity, the hospice said: “We do not believe there will be any specific benefit to Pilgrims following completion of the work.
“It has been mooted that there may be less traffic in the longer term needing to use this road.
“However with the new housing that is going up, we do not envisage a reduction in local traffic.
“It may just slow and reduce the traffic coming off the current motorway exit needing to use this bit of the road.”
It is not yet known when the Planning Inspectorate will decide whether to approve the extended hours.