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Misery for Medway City Estate traffic in Strood set to continue as Gillingham lights remain green

After years of traffic misery and nightly delays for workers on the Medway City Estate, it seemed there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Unfortunately that light will remain green for quite some time.

The council has installed traffic controls on the Gillingham side of the Medway Tunnel to briefly hold traffic back and create a gap in the stream of vehicles on the other side, so drivers leaving the estate can do so more easily.

Traffic on the Medway City Estate in Strood
Traffic on the Medway City Estate in Strood

The lights were put up earlier this year but after being switched on at the beginning of March, they have remained permanently green.

The council initially said the controls would start operating in late April or early May.

But now it has been revealed the lights will not be in use until October when a speed camera can be installed in the tunnel.

The news comes as workers on the estate, which employes 6,000 people, faced yet another evening of misery on Tuesday when a broken down vehicle in the tunnel caused delays.

Warning signs at the Medway Tunnel on Tuesday
Warning signs at the Medway Tunnel on Tuesday

Traffic was at a standstill as police closed one lane of the tunnel. Tailbacks built up around Wainscott and Strood, leaving motorists struggling to get off the Medway City Estate and taking up to an hour to travel just one mile.

Alan Jefferies, a senior partner at KAS Call Answering which is based on the estate, said the delays were unacceptable.

"Something should have been done by now" - estate worker Alan Jefferies

He added: “I left work at 5pm and didn’t get home to Gillingham until 6.40pm, a journey that should take 10 minutes.

I queued from the car park of our offices and it took an hour to get off the estate.

“It is ridiculous one vehicle can cause such chaos. It is not acceptable.”

Mr Jefferies was among the business representatives who met with Medway Council’s regeneration director Robin Cooper to discuss the estate in November 2014.

At the time, the council insisted improvements would be made in the following 12 months.

Mr Jefferies said: “It is time Richard Hicks [director of regeneration] was called to order on the promises made by Robin Cooper 18 months ago. We had several promises and something should have been done by now.”

The council originally said the lights would be in place by December last year.

A spokesman said this week: “The Medway Tunnel traffic lights will start to be tested in June and will be in action by October.

"The schedule has been put back slightly to accommodate the need to fund speed cameras in the tunnel, an additional requirement recently identified in a safety audit.”

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