Published: 14:58, 14 September 2021
| Updated: 18:40, 14 September 2021
Regular reviews of congestion caused by major roadworks at the entrance to the Medway City Estate will be carried out, highways chiefs have promised.
It comes after the opening day of the £2m upgrade to the Anthony's Way roundabout caused two-mile traffic jams and delays of about 45 minutes on Monday morning.
Speed restrictions and a lane closure through the Medway Tunnel have been imposed to ensure safety for the workforce working next to the road.
The 30mph limit and the single lane closure through the westbound tunnel will be in place throughout the duration of the works, which are due to finish in February.
But these led to huge queues tailing back beyond The Strand on Gad's Hill near to the Lower Rainham Road roundabout.
Highways officers say roadworks in Otterham Quay Lane and London Road in Rainham – which had been due to finish on Sunday and have since been removed – had not helped in causing the additional congestion at the start of the week.
One motorist spent nearly an hour-and-a-half on a five mile journey that would normally take 20 minutes.
She said: "I'm furious. It's such a horrible start to the week. This part of Medway has already been incredibly busy and the slip road has been needed for a very long time.
"But I don't understand why this work couldn't have been done when there was a work from home directive but construction could still go ahead.
"In recent weeks traffic on to the estate has steadily increased and it's going to be a nightmare until the work is done."
Measures to ease delays will be considered by highways teams at Medway Council throughout the project, the council said.
The junction improvements at the city estate – which will see a new slip road and road widening put in – are set to improving traffic flow at peak times allowing workers to leave the estate more easily.
A yellow sign inside the closed lane on the westbound lane states it is for a lorry holding area meaning it will allow contractors making deliveries to the site to use the zone to wait and avoid causing further delays and blocking the road.
The budget of the overall improvement works for the estate has increased, the Medway Messenger revealed last month, to £2.8m.
Council reports showed the cost of materials rising and construction firms being in high demand following lockdown restrictions meant the cost of the project had increased by nearly £500,000.
The new slip road on the Anthony's Way roundabout which meets the A289 and Medway Tunnel will aim to crack almost daily traffic jams leaving the estate in the evening rush-hour under plans revealed in 2019.
It would bypass the roundabout by McDonald's taking drivers straight on to Berwick Way heading for Strood, Hoo and the M2 for London and north Kent.
The road is the latest phase in the overall project to ease jams for the 6,000 people working on the Medway City Estate.
Michael Edwards, Medway Council’s head of transport and parking said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to help improve journey times for people who work on Medway City Estate.
"We apologise for any inconvenience the works to create the new slip road may cause. Once completed, the new slip road is hoped to further alleviate congestion on Medway City Estate at peak times.
"We would like to thank motorists for their patience and understanding whilst the works take place in the coming months.”
Queues were starting from the Medway Police Station and Asda junction on Tuesday morning – about a mile less than the previous day's jams.
The council secured a £1.7m grant from the Local Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).