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Temporary traffic lights on A28 Canterbury Road in Ashford spark long delays

Temporary traffic lights are causing gridlock in Ashford - and the delays are expected to last until Monday.

The roadworks appeared on the A28 close to the Harvester in Kennington yesterday, sparking gridlock on one of the main routes into the town centre.

The lights are set to remain in place until Monday
The lights are set to remain in place until Monday

UK Power Networks is repairing an underground cable near the junction for the Longacres Garden Centre next to the M20 bridge.

Bosses say they hope to have the work completed by Monday and are manually operating the traffic lights to "minimise the impact".

But on the Kentish Express Facebook page, drivers have described rush-hour as "total gridlock" and a "nightmare".

A UK Power Networks spokeswoman said: "Our engineers are carrying out repairs to an underground cable on the A28 in Kennington.

"For safety reasons temporary traffic lights are needed and are being manually operated to minimise the impact.

Queues stretched back along Canterbury Road in both directions this morning
Queues stretched back along Canterbury Road in both directions this morning

"We are aiming to complete our repairs as quickly and safely as possible and hope to have the work completed by Monday.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Although bosses hope to complete the repair by next Monday, a permit from Kent County Council will allow the traffic lights to stay in place until next Friday if the work overruns.

Elsewhere in Ashford, drivers are already facing delays in the town as the A20 is closed in both directions between the Pilgrims Hospice and Tesco Crooksfoot until Sunday.

Highways bosses shut the road in both directions last Monday, sending motorists on a lengthy diversion via the A2070.

The lights have been installed next to a 'don't take speed to the limit' sign
The lights have been installed next to a 'don't take speed to the limit' sign

Closures of the A20 are nothing new, with drivers forced to put up with traffic lights and delays for months as contractors work on the £104m Junction 10a on the M20.

But the latest roadworks are not connected to the huge junction project and have instead been brought in to allow workers to install gas mains and an electricity network for the 192-home Hinxhill Park scheme.

Last night, the first in a series of overnight closures on the M20 began as Highways England started removing the much-loathed Operation Brock barrier.

The barrier, which is 15 miles long and is bolted to the carriageway, was installed as part of the Operation Brock no-deal Brexit preparations.

But transport bosses say it is no longer necessary to continue with the two-lane restriction as the uncertainty over whether Brexit will happen has seemingly gone.

The dismantling work, which began on Monday at the Maidstone end of the M20, involves the London-bound stretch being closed every night between Junctions 9 and 8 from 8pm and 6am until Thursday, January 30.

Highways bosses say about one mile of barrier will be removed each night, with road markings repainted and gaps in the central reservation barrier closed.

Throughout the barrier removal works, bosses say lane three on the coastbound stretch will be closed to allow for the reinstatement of the central reservation barrier.

Lanes one and two will be open on the coastbound route, but a 50mph speed limit will be in place.

A full overnight closure of the coastbound carriageway will be needed from 8pm on Tuesday, January 28 until 6am on Wednesday, January 29 to remove the lane three coastbound restriction.

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