Cash-strapped council chiefs hoping to install traffic lights at a notorious junction could be forced to go cap in hand to business owners asking them to help pay for it.
Transport chiefs are assessing the future of the Barrey Road junction leading to the Ashford Retail Park off the A2070 in Sevington.
They think it will cost about £270,000 to install permanent traffic lights and alter the road layout at the site, but admit they do not yet have the money to pay for it.
Kent County Council project manager Andy Moreton told a meeting of Ashford’s Joint Transportation Board (JTB) yesterday (Tuesday) how finding the funding is proving a challenge.
“We are struggling to find the money to do the permanent works,” he said.
“I do know there are a lot of discussions internally about the funding element, which will be the difficult one to solve – discussions are ongoing with Highways England.
“We could get the begging bowls out with the business community and developers.”
KentOnline has regularly reported on safety concerns at the junction, which becomes congested when shoppers turn off and try to cross the dual carriageway.
It has been described by road campaigners as a “death trap”.
There were several petitions launched calling for greater safety at the junction, supported by Kent County Councillor George Koowaree along with business leaders including Wendy Rowe from Retainagroup, and mum Stacey-Louise Smith.
"We are struggling to find the money to do the permanent works..." - Andy Moreton
The traffic lights option was first revealed in June – three months after the speed limit around the junction was cut to 40mph – and since then Highways England asked contractors Vinci and Taylor Woodrow to review the traffic light options.
They found it would cost £60,000 to install temporary lights for a year, while putting in permanent signals without changing the road layout would cost £187,000.
The third preferred option – to alter the road layout and put in permanent lights – would cost £270,000.
Contractors say the best option for putting permanent traffic signals in place will be at the same time as the junction 10a works, which are due to start next year if the M20 scheme is approved.
For more on the Barrey Road junction, pick up tomorrow's Kentish Express