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M2 junction 5 Stockbury Roundabout and A28 in Thanet upgrade projects in top 10 list of improvements submitted to government

Major road projects in Kent have been listed among the 10 most important in the south east to cut congestion.

Junction 5 of the M2 at Sittingbourne and the A28 in Thanet were included as part of a £3.5 billion investment which has now been submitted to the government.

The announcement today by Transport for the South East (TfSE) lists the region's busiest and most economically important routes.

Drivers were stuck at a standtill for hours during roadworks on the M2. Pic: Phil Day
Drivers were stuck at a standtill for hours during roadworks on the M2. Pic: Phil Day

The Stockbury Roundabout linking the motorway with the A249 corridor between Sittingbourne and Maidstone is included - after Highways England revealed its latest plans for the upgraded junction last month.

The need to improve the M2 corridor was highlighted after road works this month caused havoc for thousands of motorists.

The other Kent road set to benefit is the A28 relief road in Thanet between Birchington, Acol and Westgate-on-Sea.

TfSE says each of the schemes will cost between £20m and £50m and will be delivered by 2025 if funding is agreed by the Department for Transport.

The body formed earlier this year to bring together councils, business groups and transport industry to agree what is needed to improve the road network.

How the new Stockbury Roundabout could look from Oad Street (12303661)
How the new Stockbury Roundabout could look from Oad Street (12303661)

The final top 10 was published after an assessment against national criteria, strategic objectives to boost the region economically, quality of life for residents and environmental aims.

In December, the government called for regions across the UK to prioritise projects across the major road network for roads under local authority control, such as Kent County Council.

TfSE chairman Cllr Keith Glazier said: "A high-quality, reliable transport network is absolutely critical to our region’s continued success, so it’s vital we make a strong case for ongoing investment on behalf of people and businesses in the south east.

"The schemes we have put forward would, if funded, mean better and more reliable journeys for road users and help reduce urban congestion, speed up journey times and support new housing and jobs.

The new-look Stockbury Roundabout from above (12303663)
The new-look Stockbury Roundabout from above (12303663)

"By speaking with one voice to influence where and how money is spent in our region, TfSE is already making a real difference for the seven-and-a-half million people who live and work in the south east."

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has welcomed the announcement to prioritise the two key routes in Kent.

Christian Brodie, chairman of SELEP, said: "Having been measured against a range of national criteria and how they can help deliver sustainable economic growth, improved quality of life and the environment, it is great to see these Kent transport investments prioritised by TfSE.

"In our conversations with ministers and civil servants we will be pushing hard for these, and other transport investments, to be given funding with a decision expected by the end of the year."

Other roads included in the top 10 are a new rail bridge replacement in Southampton, improvements to the A259 across the south coast in West Sussex including between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and a new range of improvements to the A22 in East Sussex.

Schemes not considered so far can be put forward again for the next wave of funding from 2025 to 2030.

A new report is due to be published by TfSE in the autumn focussing on road needs in the south east up to 2050 to tackle climate change, improving air quality and cutting congestion.

Cllr Glazier added: "Our draft transport strategy will make clear that roads will continue to play a central role in our green future – but we need to go further, faster to encourage take-up of cleaner fuel alternatives, greater use of public transport and harness the potential of new technology to transform the way we travel."

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