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Roadworks, holidaymakers and boot fair cause traffic gridlock on Sheppey

Motorists are stuck in stationary traffic fuming thanks to a "perfect storm" of roadworks, holidaymakers and a Friday boot fair.

Retired priest the Rev Colin Johnson said: "I have spent the past 45 minutes trying to get from Neats Court retail park at Queenborough to Sheerness to pick up a prescription and I've hardly moved.

Traffic at Cowstead Corner roundabout, A249, Sheppey
Traffic at Cowstead Corner roundabout, A249, Sheppey

"It's ridiculous. Thankfully I have some water and food in the car and, if push comes to shove, a blanket in the back in case I end up having to spend the night on the road.

"At this rate I can see plenty of cars overheating and lots of drivers ending up with heatstroke. For a while I managed to get up to 3mph along the Brielle Way. All alternative routes are gridlocked."

John Twiselton of Minster said: "Over the past hour I have observed traffic queuing into Sheerness starting at Morrisons at Neats Court Queenborough; traffic approaching Cowstead Corner from Sheerness queuing back to the Aviator pub at Queenborough Corner; Lower Road queues approaching Cowstead Corner roundabout stretching back beyond Scocles Road; queues on Barton Hill Drive approaching the Lower Road roundabout and queues on the A249 Sheppey Crossing approaching Cowstead Corner.

"The Island once again is gridlocked because of inadequate roads and poor planning of roadworks right at the start of the school holidays and Sheppey's busiest tourist period just as Covid restrictions are eased.

Traffic at Cowstead Corner roundabout, A249, Sheppey
Traffic at Cowstead Corner roundabout, A249, Sheppey

"The situation seems to be getting worse. What a mess!"

A furious Danny Keenan added: "The Friday boot sale on the Lower Road had caused even more problems today than usual thanks to the traffic diversions.

"Every Friday between 10am and 2pm the A2500 Lower Road becomes a 5mph crawl in both directions because of the boot fair.

"Vehicles slow down to have a look as they drive past or disrupt traffic as they try to reach or leave the boot fair.

"Something needs to be done about it as it's clearly a distraction to road-users and a danger. I've had two near misses today near the entrance because people aren't paying attention. Cars should not be allowed to cross traffic entering or leaving the field. They should be made to turn around at the roundabouts at Barton Hill Drive or Cowstead Corner.

Traffic at Brielle Way, Blue Town, Sheerness, Sheppey
Traffic at Brielle Way, Blue Town, Sheerness, Sheppey

"Thanks to the closure of Queenborough Road because of gas works it has taken me 45 minutes to get from Morrisons at Queenborough to Sheerness Aldi as the traffic is now stretching from Sheerness Tesco to the Aviator pub and BP garage at Queenborough Corner.

"The roadworks are planned for the next four weeks. This state of affairs is totally unacceptable."

He added: "I have reported the affects of the boot fair to Kent Highways, Swale council, the Highways Agency and Kent Police who I hope will all investigate it.

"Complaints have also been lodged with KCC and Swale council for the **** poor planning and roadworks closures."

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson, who lives on the Island, had warned that the roadworks would cause traffic chaos and pleaded for them to be delayed until after the end of the holiday season in September.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson

Speaking today, he said: "It was obvious this was going to happen – it's horrific.

"Both SGN and Kent County Council decided that they were going to go ahead with it anyway.

"SGN's view was that if they left it until the winter, it could lead to some of the properties in that area losing their gas supply because of the increased need for gas in the winter and the pressure dropping.

"But I don't accept that. Ultimately, I think, they should have taken other precautions to make sure the pressure didn't drop."

He added: "We are now reaping the rewards from that very, very poor decision.

"All I can say is I told you so. I can do no more than that, sadly.

"It's up to Kent County Council and SGN to come to their senses and put a stop on the work until such times when it's not going to cause such chaos, and I will be pressing for that."

Islanders were hit by delays yesterday when there was a crash near Cowstead Corner.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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