Residents fear someone will be killed with drivers mounting the pavement at speed as a narrow road is used as a diversion for eight weeks.
The closure of the main thoroughfare through Hawley village near Dartford is causing havoc as motorists are directed down roads unsuitable for the volume of traffic.
Mill Road resident Kelly Duncan is calling for immediate action to make the street one-way – claiming she is forced to dice with death whenever she steps off her drive.
She fears being mown down by a speeding car mounting the pavement.
The 47-year-old had her wall knocked down this week as drivers navigate the narrow road.
She said: “This is the outcome of Mill Road being used as a racecourse. What will it take for the council to do something about this road being used as a cut-through because of Shirehall Road being closed?”
Kelly says it was actually lucky it was only her wall that was hit: “It could have been one of the twins I look after, or my neighbour’s child.
“You take your life in your hands just stepping onto the pavement or pulling out of your drive, in case a car is speeding along.”
She says there isn’t room for cars to pass going in opposite directions, so drivers have to wait at one end while a vehicle travels the full length of the road before they can then drive in the opposite direction. With cars parked the entire length of the road, there are no passing places, except Kelly’s drive.
She added: “People get frustrated waiting for so many cars before it is their turn. If they see the road is clear they floor it to get to the other end before something comes the other way.
“If they have had enough of waiting both cars can be coming at each other from opposite directions and my house in the middle is the only possible place to park.
Kelly, who has lived there for 16 years, says the situation is just getting worse.
“It’s been bad for a long time but these last two weeks have just been awful. And the diversion is set to last another six weeks, and that’s if the roadworks are finished on time.
“What they have put in place is not appropriate. Something bad is going to happen soon.”
In the long-term she would like to see speed humps introduced but while the diversion is in place she thinks a one-way system is the only answer.
Fellow local Sheila Hesleden, who lives in Shirehall Road, is also calling for speed humps but said she was told this was not an option.
She said: “This has been a problem for us for years. A while ago I requested [them] but was told a fatality had to happen before that could be considered as an option.
“These roads weren’t built for this volume of heavy traffic.”
While Joy Brushneen, who lives in the same road, said: “The traffic races up and down Mill Road, [and Shirehall when it is open]. Making it one way would make that worse. Maybe we need speed bumps or similar.”
Wilmington, Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley councillor George Holt is spearheading the residents’ fight and calling on Kent County Council to introduce appropriate measures such as better signage for the eight weeks the diversion in in place and a suitable long-term solution for the area.
Shirehall Road acts as a cut-through for traffic travelling from Wilmington and Hextable to Longfield but is currently shut for gas repairs.
Hawley Garden Centre is at one end of the road and attracts a number of HGVs making deliveries.
Cllr Holt said: “There has been an increase in HGV drivers attempting to get through Mill Road only to realise they are unable to get their large vehicles all the way through the road and then having to reverse back the road.
“The process causes Hawley traffic flow to be held up for an excessive period of time.”
While Cllr Holt appreciates the need for the work to be carried out, he feels the effect on the surrounding roads was not considered and now needs to be carefully looked at.
He said: “The disruption being caused by the closure of Shirehall Road is incredibly high.
“It has exacerbated existing issues on Hawley’s roads which residents, councillors and myself have reported through the appropriate channels in the past, from the speeding on Mill Road to the dire state of the unadopted Cross Road.”
In a bid to improve the situation, Cllr Holt has secured additional signage to prevent HGVs from using Mill Road as a cut-through during the duration of the closure and to urge drivers to proceed slowly.
With Ash Road due to close for two weeks Kelly is worried drivers will continue to follow the diversion along Mill Road before getting to Ash Road and having to turn round, adding further to the chaos.
She said: “I do hope they will be putting extra signage at the bottom of Mill Road letting drivers know there is no access to Ash Road/Shirehall Road or we will have even more traffic going up only to come back down again.”
A KCC spokesperson said: “We are aware of works being carried out by SGN in Shirehall Road.
“Our team has worked with SGN to ensure an appropriately signed diversion is in place. Our inspectors will continue to visit this site to ensure disruption is minimised as far as possible.”