Published: 06:00, 04 September 2019
Angry neighbours living just a stone's throw from the Junction 10a scheme say the ongoing roadworks are making their lives hell.
Construction workers moved near to properties in Nightingale Close, Sevington, earlier this year - causing disruption to homeowners in neighbouring houses.
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Residents say the works, which are set to continue until next summer, are impacting on their quality of life, with neighbours raising fears about dust, noise and privacy.
Highways England says the £104 million junction will be the biggest boost for Ashford since the arrival of international rail more than 20 years ago.
But mum Lisa Harvey, who lives in Nightingale Close, says the noise caused by the roadworks is "horrible".
M20 junction 10a work to 'transform' motorway
Her house is just a stone’s throw from a new roundabout on the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road, which was put in by Highways England earlier this year to join up the dual carriageway with a new link road leading to Junction 10a.
Mrs Harvey said: “The constant droning noise gets in your head.
“It is just constant with lorries reversing, diggers digging and a big roller machine right next to our garden.
“I just wanted to cry when the glasses in my cupboard were rattling and the floor was shaking.”
Mrs Harvey has lived in her home - which is overlooked by the new Church Road footbridge - with her husband and three children for 17 years.
“It has really affected my husband - he’s stressed and he’s not sleeping,” she added.
“Even during the nice summer evenings, if we wanted to sit outside and have dinner, we can’t because of the noise and people looking in on you - it’s horrible.
“Highways England has come out many times to see us but it doesn’t seem to change anything.”
The 48-year-old, who manages her husband’s plumbing business from home, says the situation has been made worse after the new Church Road footbridge was installed in June.
Since then, trees have been removed from the back of her property, exposing Mrs Harvey’s house to the building site.
“We have no privacy at all since the footbridge has been installed and the trees have been cut down,” she added.
“The footpath has been made higher and people will be able to see into our house.
“We used to get up in the morning and open the curtains, but with the digger men out there you just want to keep them closed.
“I could be sitting there during an evening watching the television and people will be able to cross over the bridge and look straight in.
“That’s not what I wanted for this family home.”
Daniel Alexander, 46, who lives next door to Mrs Harvey with his wife and two children, says the dust created by the works has been a particular problem.
“The dust is an absolute nightmare and my wife suffers badly from asthma,” he said.
“We are paying £10 each week to clean our company cars, as well as hiring a cleaner to clean the dust from in and outside our house.
“It is depressing being here now because they have taken a lovely secluded area and have totally exposed us to everything.
“If it had been like this initially we would have never bought the house.
“I work from home a couple of days a week and I constantly have to listen to banging, digging and the noise of reversing vehicles.
“Pigeons are now nesting in between the solar panels on my house and using my conservatory roof as a toilet because all of the trees have been cut down.
“We loved this house and we put everything into it to buy it because we didn’t want to move again, but right now I could quite willingly sell it, although I couldn’t because it is not worth half as much as it was before this work started.”
Our sister paper the Kentish Express revealed last month how construction work on the scheme could be carried out on Sundays and Bank Holidays after Highways England submitted an application to extend the working hours.
If approved, contractors would work an hour later each weekday - until 7pm - five hours longer on Saturdays - until 6pm instead of 1pm - and from 8am to 5pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
It has not yet been decided if the working hours will be extended as highways chiefs are still awaiting confirmation from the Department for Transport.
Junction 10a project manager Tom Selby previously told the Kentish Express the junction would open to traffic in September, but bosses now say they are on course to have the new scheme open to traffic later this year, however construction is due to continue until summer 2020.
Highways England says it has met with residents in Nightingale Close throughout the construction process to address their concerns.
It says it accepts the new Church Road footbridge is higher and closer to Nightingale Close and that it is in detailed discussions with property owners to agree measures to safeguard their privacy.
The highways agency states that tree removal was essential in order to install the new bridge, ramps and a new drainage system.
Bosses say a “large-scale” planting scheme is proposed across the entire project that will provide future screening for properties.
They have installed noise monitoring equipment close to the affected properties and say there hasn’t been any noise exceedances caused by the work to date.
Highways England says vibration is “well under levels” where it could risk causing any damage to homes and a permanent acoustic barrier has been installed at the boundary of Mrs Harvey’s home.
Regular road sweeping and damping down of road surfaces is carried out to minimise dust.
A spokesman added: “We do appreciate that living near a construction scheme can be noisy and we are grateful for people’s patience.
"The constant droning noise gets in your head... it is just constant with lorries reversing, diggers digging and a big roller machine right next to our garden" - Lisa Harvey
“Creating this new junction is the biggest boost for Ashford since the arrival of international rail more than 20 years ago and will improve journeys for both local and long distance drivers.
“It also includes a new footbridge to make it easier and safer for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the M20.
“We are working hard to be a good neighbour, and appreciate that living near a major construction site is not easy.
“We will continue to listen to local people and take whatever action we can to keep disruption to a minimum.
“We are grateful for people’s patience and are on course to have the new junction open to traffic later this year.”
Highways bosses say they have helped explain to homeowners what compensation they are entitled to as a result of the works.
They say property owners who are adversely affected by the new roads will be able to apply for appropriate compensation when the improvements are complete.
The first day for claiming compensation is a year and a day after the new or altered road first comes into public use