Published: 09:00, 06 September 2017
A £100 million upgrade of a notoriously busy junction will not include a flyover.
The A249 Stockbury roundabout is to be improved, boosting the capacity of the M2 junction to ease congestion for drivers at Junction 5.
Highways England is hosting a series of consultation events from today until Tuesday, October 17.
People will be asked for feedback on the proposals, which Highways England says aim to reduce congestion, improve journey times and boost local economic growth.
The agency said it considered 12 options for an upgraded Stockbury roundabout, nine of which were subsequently discounted.
The three “best-performing” options then became its focus, but it concluded two of these would be “too expensive”, leaving just one.
A flyover was one of the options but would have cost about £158 million, so was ditched.
WATCH: This is what Highways England has planned for an upgraded Stockbury Roundabout
The chosen option includes:
An enlarged M2 Junction 5/A249 Stockbury Roundabout to provide a new through-route for A249 traffic, with traffic light controls.
New dedicated left-turn lanes for traffic travelling from the A249 Maidstone-bound to the M2 London-bound and from the A249 Sheppey-bound to the M2 coast-bound.
New single-lane slip road from the M2 coast-bound to the A249 Sheppey-bound which would avoid the M2 Junction 5/A249 Stockbury Roundabout altogether.
The existing connection from the Maidstone Road to the A249 Stockbury Roundabout would be closed, and Maidstone Road would be re-routed to link with Oad Street.
The existing junction of Oad Street with the A249 would be closed. A new link would be provided south of the existing Oad Street to connect directly with A249 Stockbury Roundabout.
The highest expected cost of this option is just over the £100 million budget at £102 million.
Once the consultation has finished, a preferred route announcement will be revealed in early 2018 and a planning application will be submitted that winter.
If planning consent is granted, construction will start in 2020/2021, a year later than originally planned, with the new road layout fully open for traffic in 2022.
Last month, the agency sent about 126,000 letters to homes on Sheppey and in Sittingbourne, Medway, Maidstone and Aylesford, urging people to get involved.
GRAPHIC: Click the red dots to see where the changes might fall
Another 150 were sent to councillors and more than 230 emails to other interested parties.
Highways England said it could not confirm how much the entire consultation has cost until it was over.
VIDEO: Queuing at Stockbury Roundabout is a daily chore for many motorists
Residents can view the plans and speak to representatives from Highways England at five public consultation sessions, which will be held on:
Wednesday, September 6, at the Holiday Inn, London Road, Sittingbourne, from 4pm to 8pm
Monday, September 11, at Stockbury Memorial Hall, The Street, Stockbury, between 2pm to 8pm
Saturday, September 16, at The Forum shopping centre, High Street, Sittingbourne. Times are 10am to 2pm
Wednesday, September 20, at the Sheppey Gateway, High Street, Sheerness, from 2pm to 8pm
Copies of the brochures and questionnaire will be available at libraries throughout Swale.