Published: 16:03, 23 May 2022
| Updated: 17:01, 23 May 2022
Work to replace a busy roundabout in Ashford with traffic lights is set to be suspended just two weeks after it started.
Restrictions on the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road around the Orbital Park roundabout will be temporarily lifted ahead of heavy holiday traffic next week.
Single-lane limits around the area were supposed to remain in place for another four weeks, but governing bodies fear that the restrictions – which have already seen large tailbacks in the area – will impact the area due to increased traffic next week.
A combination of half term and a four-day weekend thanks to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee means far more vehicles than normal are expected to use the roads.
As a result, Kent County Council (KCC) and National Highways have agreed to instruct developers to cease work on the dual carriageway so that restrictions can be lifted for the busy period.
Bad Munstereifel Road will be shut from 8pm to 6am tonight and tomorrow night, to allow it to be cleared of closures in both directions by Wednesday.
Restrictions will then be reinstated on Monday, June 6, where they will remain in place for the remaining four weeks.
Work will continue along the roads splintering off from the duel carriageway, including Waterbrook Avenue and The Boulevard.
This also includes Avocet Way, the junction leading to the Finberry housing estate which is to be upgraded, allowing drivers to turn right onto the A2070 for the first time.
Forming part of the 'Bellamy Gurner' scheme, work was supposed to start on the roundabout over Easter but was pushed back twice because of Operation Brock.
Disruption on the M20 meant contractors were told to hold off as the A2070 formed part of the 'official' six-mile 'Brock Zero' diversion through Ashford, before a review saw work pushed back again at the end of last month.
After finally starting on Monday, May 9, the works have seen one lane closed in both directions for almost two miles, starting from the Sevington 'Jet Roundabout' to the Cloverleaf Roundabout past the Finberry turn-off.
Both lanes were due to be closed for a further four weeks from today as workers remove the Orbital Park roundabout and replace it with a traffic light-controlled junction.
Cllr Paul Bartlett, who is the Ashford Central representative for KCC, said that while the suspension was necessary ahead of what is expected to be a very busy week, similar actions were "unlikely" for the rest of the duration of the work.
"We are expecting a lot of people to have things planned, be that going to see family, go shopping at the Outlet or even go down towards the Marsh and Camber Sands," he explained.
"With that in mind, following discussions between the council and National Highways, it was agreed to temporarily remove the restrictions by Wednesday.
"The combination of both half term and the Platinum Jubilee plus Operation Brock is unusual, and with a deadline of September to finish the works I would say it would be unlikely that we would see many more suspensions like this."