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Newtown Road in Ashford to close again for 10 weeks in May for Designer Outlet works

By Georgia Woolf

Bosses have finally confirmed when a main road which was shut for eight months will close again.

As KentOnline revealed earlier this month, Newtown Road in Ashford will shut from Monday, May 13 to Friday, July 19, causing 10 weeks of delays across the town.

It comes after drivers faced 32 weeks of traffic hell last year after contractors shut the stretch April as part of the Designer Outlet's £90 million expansion.

Newtown Road will close again in May
Newtown Road will close again in May

Chiefs say the closure at the junction with Romney Marsh Road will allow contractors to remove interim traffic islands and install a new, controlled pedestrian crossing.

A new tabletop ramp at the crossing will also be put in.

New paving on footpaths will also be put down, and lighting and signage improvements will be completed.

Improvements to a pedestrian crossing are planned (7591090)
Improvements to a pedestrian crossing are planned (7591090)

Chiefs say the works "will make it easier for people to move between Ashford International Station, the town centre and the Designer Outlet".

During the closure, there will be no access to Ashford International station and its car parks from the A2042 Romney Marsh Road and a fully signed diversion route will be in place via the Orbital Park roundabout and Crowbridge Road.

The outlet extension, which is costing £90m, is expected to open in the autumn, adding 50 new shops to the site.

The outlet extension is progressing
The outlet extension is progressing

Designer Outlet centre manager Peter Corr said: "Our expansion is an incredibly exciting project for the area and proudly forms part of the Ashford Big 8 projects.

"Together with our local area colleagues, we are working hard to put ‘Destination Ashford’ on the map as one of the major visitor destinations in the south-east.

"We do understand that local commuters and residents will be inconvenienced during the works period; however, we are confident these works will provide long-term economic benefits for the Ashford community.”

Tracey Kerly, chief executive Ashford Borough Council, says the authority is looking forward to the opening of the outlet extension.

She said: “While we welcome the expansion of the Designer Outlet, we do understand these works are of great inconvenience to local residents and understand their concerns.

"These improvements are vitally important as they will provide a safer crossing for pedestrians and improve traffic flows in the area.

“The expansion of the Designer Outlet will transform it into one of the UK’s premier outlet centres, enhancing the shopping experience and providing a complementary offer to our town centre.

"We look forward to these works being completed and the expanded centre opening this autumn.”

Contractor Walker Construction says it will be notifying residents about the closure via a letter in the post.

'TIPS' FOR DRIVERS

Contractors McLaren Construction and Walker Construction have released a series of 'tips to help drivers navigate the improvement works during peak periods'.

They are:

  • Check conditions on the roads and possible detour routes prior to making your journey
  • Use alternative routes to avoid roadworks where possible
  • Familiarise your changes in route prior to driving
  • Follow the yellow directional signage for diversion routes

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