Nine months of work to replace Ashford's Orbital Park roundabout with traffic lights is set to start this week – and the project is splitting opinion across the town.
As part of the scheme on Bad Munstereifel Road, the Avocet Way junction which leads to the Finberry housing estate will be upgraded, allowing drivers to turn right onto the A2070 for the first time.
While the prospect of more roadworks is unwelcome, those who live and work in Finberry feel the changes are desperately needed and will be worth the wait.
Anna Lockyer and Claire Oakley, who run takeaway van Caffeine and Fizz, say they are pleased access is being improved.
They said: “We’re really happy with the roadworks as it will make access in and out of Finberry much easier for residents and our customers.
“We believe that disruption is being kept to a minimum and on-site staff are really friendly and approachable.”
Roxy Tuohy agreed, saying she is “excited for it to be done”.
“It’s going to be a nightmare but a better way of getting in and out of Finberry is needed,” she added.
The ‘Bellamy Gurner’ project was expected to begin last year but a ‘Christmas roadworks embargo’ delayed the scheme.
Seen as a way of improving traffic flow in the area, plans for the project first surfaced in the early 2000s.
Workers from FM Conway, the company in charge of the build, have been making changes to land off the dual carriageway in recent months, but will start on the road itself this week.
Bosses say the majority of the works are expected to be completed by September but ‘high-friction surfacing’ aimed at improving grip will be laid in October.
Commenting on the Kentish Express Facebook page, Trevor Lewis, who uses the route on his commute to work, said he is not a fan of the project.
“This is going to cause longer queues than we already have to put up with between 8am and 9am, and 4pm to 6pm,” he said.
“I travel this way Monday to Friday to do my job and it’s a nightmare now.”
Phil Lewis said: “In France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, something like this would take three weeks max to complete.”
Peter Littlejohn added: “It flows fine at the moment.
“Traffic lights will just halt traffic and cause chaos.”
Juliet Wirt said: “The access to the truck stop should be moved to the Junction 10a roundabout.
“Or why didn’t they do it when other roadworks were being done over the last few years and we were already suffering with queues every day.”
Matt Harris said: “The traffic flows pretty well with a roundabout. This will make traffic flow worse.”
However Ashford MP Damian Green feels the road cannot be left as it is.
“Roadworks like this are always very annoying while they are happening but in this case, they are needed in the long term, particularly for people buying homes in Finberry and various other people doing jobs in and out of the area,” he said.
“If we just carried on with the network we have at the moment, there would be much worse problems.”