Published: 16:07, 11 March 2020
| Updated: 16:42, 11 March 2020
Worried villagers feel trapped in their street after heavy rain caused a river to overflow, cutting off a vital access point.
Kent County Council (KCC) has shut a flooded section of road in Barham, near Canterbury.
This has left people living in Out Elmstead Lane with only one access point –a “dangerous” junction with the A2.
Some now fear a serious accident is inevitable.
As traffic thunders past on the busy dual-carriageway, drivers have to pull out from a standing hill start.
Meanwhile, those turning into Out Elmstead Lane from the A2 have to slow right down – often while being tailgated by lorries unaware of the sharp turning ahead.
Residents say they have long-been urging the authorities to put clear warnings in place on the A-road, but to no avail.
Alastair Wrigley, 56, says some people in the street are too frightened to attempt to tackle the junction.
“It’s not safe,” he said. “Lots of people are now marooned in our lane and can’t get out.”
Mr Wrigley says the turning from the A2 into Out Elmstead Lane is so sharp that it is very easy to miss.
He said: “At night it’s very hard to spot the exit. We often overshoot it ourselves.”
The junction with Valley Road, at the opposite end of the street, was closed when it was flooded by the overflowing Nailbourne river during Thursday’s downpour.
Mr Wrigley says he was told by KCC officials it would not be reopened for months.
But driving through the deluged junction would be far less dangerous than using the junction with the A2, according to Mr Wrigley.
Bin collections were missed on Friday, as Serco was unaware of the closure.
Mr Wrigley says he has notified the emergency services himself about the lack of access.
Residents went out onto the A2 at the weekend to trim back hedges to improve visibility.
Mr Wrigley says they are frustrated the authorities have not taken action, despite promising to do so after the last major flood in 2014.
City councillor Mike Sole, who represents Nailbourne, said: “It’s disgraceful KCC and Highways England have been unable to coordinate a plan despite years to prepare for this. Unless a permanent solution is found, a serious accident is inevitable.”
A KCC spokesman said the Nailbourne floods the road roughly every seven years and is a matter for the Environment Agency.
“KCC is continuing to work in partnership with Canterbury City Council and the Environment Agency to monitor the situation and if water levels drop we may be able to reopen the road,” he added.
“We appreciate the road closure necessitates either joining a dual carriageway from a standing hill start or doing a sharp left hand turn from fast-flowing traffic.
“We have previously requested temporary traffic management on the A2 to help residents from Highways England which is responsible for the A2 and would need to place, manage and maintain this.”
A Highways England spokesman said: “It must be very frustrating for residents on Out Elmstead road while access to Valley Road is unavailable.
“Safety is our top priority at Highways England and we have had additional signs on the A2 since before Christmas warning drivers to slow down around the junction.
“We will continue to work closely with KCC and other stakeholders and to monitor the site and take appropriate action where needed to ensure its safety.
“We welcome any suggestions or ideas from local people for improvements.”