Published: 14:15, 13 December 2017
Traffic lights are to be installed at the junction of the notorious Barrey Road junction with the A2070.
In what was described as a “major breakthrough” for the town, the move was revealed at a meeting of the Ashford Joint Transportation Board on Tuesday night.
Highways England confirmed to the board that they would be funding and placing traffic lights at the junction in Sevington, dubbed a “death trap” by campaigners, which is used to access and exit the Ashford Retail Park.
New traffic signals to help traffic join the A2070 at Barrey Road will be provided at the same time as a major scheme to create a new junction - junction 10a – of the M20 near Ashford.
Tom Selby, project sponsor for the M20 Junction 10a scheme at Highways England, said: “Creating a new junction on the M20 will be a huge boost for Ashford and I’m delighted that we are able to include these new traffic signals in our plans.
"They will help residents, businesses and shoppers to get in and out of Barrey Road smoothly and safely."
He said the installation of the lights had been agreed with Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council and Highways England looked forward to continuing to work closely with the two councils when construction begins early next year.
For years motorists, residents and businesses have been campaigning for action to be taken to make the junction safer and more accessible due to the number of accidents as well as the lengthy delays trying to get onto and off the busy and growing retail park.
Highways England spokesman Paul Harwood said: “We are pleased to tell you that Highways England will be signalising the Barrey Road junction with the A2070 and we will be paying all costs but the lights will only allow traffic exiting from Barrey Road to turn left onto the A2070 towards junction 10.
Cllr George Koowaree (Lib Dem. North Willesborough) said: “After hearing this decision, I can say I’m a very happy man, it’s very happy news and will be most welcomed by drivers, residents and businesses.
“Good things come to those who wait, we’ve waited long enough that we’ve not only got the traffic lights but the funding too.”
Highways England bosses had previously ruled out traffic lights along the A2070 dual carriageway due to safety fears and introduced a temporary speed limit of 40mph between the Orbital Park and junction 10 roundabout.
However, this speed limit has since been removed after being described as “counter-productive”.
The results from several traffic surveys showed that the lower speed limit only reduced the mean average speed on the dual carriageway by 3mph with an average speed of 50.9mph in the 70 mph speed limit and 47.9 mph in the 40mph limit.
It was also discovered that queues in Barrey Road with the 40mph speed limit were generally longer than those with the 70mph limit.
Mr Harwood added: “The 40mph speed limit along the dual carriageway was a temporary one but it has now been removed as it was thought to be counter-productive.
“However, when junction 10a is built there are plans to put a permanent speed reduction in place as well as making the road more ‘suburban’.”
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More by this authorKristina Curtis
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