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Tom Tugendhat steps in over Kings Hill traffic chaos as result of A228 closure

An MP is trying to help people stuck with in traffic chaos caused by gas works.

Work to install a gas main for Blaise Farm Quarry has resulted in the closure of part of the A228, between Gibson Drive and the Kings Hill Roundabout, which has had such serious knock-on effects for Kings Hill residents.

The works by Southern Gas Networks started on Monday and have brought chaos to Kings Hill, with heavy traffic travelling along Gibson Drive and congestion at the Silver Ball roundabout, particularly with HGVs.

Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat on Kings Hill roadworks causing traffic problems

In theory, traffic is supposed to divert along the A26 Tonbridge Road, B2016 Seven Mile Lane, A20 London Road, to rejoin the A228 at Ashton Way, and vice versa, but that's a round-trip of approximately seven miles.

Many vehicles are either deliberately ignoring the diversion or are not seeing it in time, and end up cutting through Kings Hill to avoid the closure.

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said: "The closure and diversions are scheduled to last another three weeks, but it is clear after the first few days that this chaos cannot be allowed to continue.

The actual route being taken by much of the traffic through Kings Hill
The actual route being taken by much of the traffic through Kings Hill

"I’ve written to both Kent County Council and Liberty Properties, the developer at Kings Hill, to ask that they look again at how the A228 closure is being managed, to ensure that vehicles can travel both smoothly and safely around diversion routes, not causing undue impact for any local residents or businesses."

"The plus side is that this closure is happening in the summer when traffic is traditionally lower. But closing the A228 was always going to have a huge impact on our community.

"What we should be seeing is traffic going down Seven Mile Lane. That's where the diversion should be taking people, but actually the signage is pretty rubbish and a lot of people are not getting the message until it's too late and that means they're going through Kings Hill.

"That's not good enough frankly. A lot of people who live in Kings Hill who are trying to get to work or trying to get kids to summer camp, are finding that they are cut off and that's not on."

Tom Tugendhat: "This can't go on."
Tom Tugendhat: "This can't go on."

Kings Hill resident Chennelle Reade said: "It's a huge nightmare.

"Lorries have been blocking the roundabout and getting stuck.

"It easy to get into Kings Hill just not out of it!"

The long queue to get out of Kings Hill
The long queue to get out of Kings Hill

Liberty Property Trust, which developed the Kings Hill estate, said it had now closed Kings Hill Avenue to prevent it being used as a rat-run.

A spokesman said: "We very much appreciate how frustrating the current road closures in and around Kings Hill are to both residents and businesses.

"Unfortunately, the disruption caused by the SGN works is being exacerbated by the additional works requiring temporary traffic lights at the Gibson Drive entrance to Kings Hill – both of which have been sanctioned by KCC Highways.

"On Monday, when the works started, SGN had not installed adequate signage to ensure HGVs and other through vehicles were made aware in good time that there was a closure in place.

"We understand that this signage is now in place, and therefore hope, over the coming days, through traffic and HGVs will be more aware and start to use the approved diversion routes and not come through Kings Hill."

The road closure is scheduled to continue until August 27.

In addition, there are temporary, manually controlled traffic lights at the Gibson Drive roundabout until Monday, when there will be more temporary traffic lights at the Kings Hill Roundabout, until August 12.

The lights are operating between 7am and 7pm.

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