Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
In the original Growth Deal announcement in July 2014; KCC secured £4.8m for the delivery of the Kent Strategic Congestion Management Programme (KSCMP) in order to deliver schemes throughout the County to reduce the impact of increasing vehicular traffic.
The A2/A251 junction improvement scheme is proposed to be brought forwards as part of the KSCMP and a business case for the remaining £500k of the £4.8m programme is due to be considered by SELEP Accountability Board on 3rd July 2020.
The A2/A251 priority junction provides the primary access for Faversham and eastern Swale to the strategic road network. The junction caters for significant volumes of traffic and is currently operating over capacity in peak periods with serious levels of congestion and delay. This is a constraint to key strategic housing allocations in the Faversham area and to the economic wellbeing of the town.
The proposed scheme replaces the existing priority junction arrangement with a new signalised junction, which will include a controlled pedestrian crossing across the A2 eastern arm.
There is £900k of match funding secured for the scheme through S106 agreements. A Kent Lane Rental bid is also being prepared which if successful will provide a further £300k towards the scheme delivery. Any delay to the S106 funding coming forwards can be offset using existing Local Transport Plan funding.
A key decision is required to allow KCC to progress with the next stages of scheme delivery; including negotiations with Kent Fire and Rescue Service and The Abbey School regarding small areas of land required to deliver the scheme, pursuing the Utility works and entering into a construction contract. This is required prior to the LGF business case sign off to ensure that the £500k LGF contribution can be spent within the Growth Deal period (prior to March 2021).
The A2/A251 junction improvement proposed has emerged from a process of option sifting and review. A number of studies have taken place to consider potential options for the junctions at A2/A251 Ashford Road/Preston Grove and A2/B2041 The Mall with the objective of improving traffic flow to reduce queues and delays.
The options assessed included traffic signals and different roundabout arrangements, designed within the existing highway limits except for a small area of land within KCC’s ownership.
Initial options were presented for public consultation in April and May 2014 and the results reported to Swale JTB in June 2014. The junction layouts within the existing highway boundary were found to not offer a significant increase in highway capacity. Further options were developed which would require additional land within control of KCC, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Abbey School.
Consequently, four options, all of which include a requirement for land outside the highway boundary, were selected for further consideration.
The options assessed included:
• Option 2b: An elongated roundabout with partial signal control at the A2/B2041 The Mall;
• Option 3: Signalisation of the A2/A251 Ashford Road and A2/The Mall;
• Option 5: Roundabout at the A2/A251junction; and
• Option 6: Roundabout at the A2/A251junction and signalisation of the right turn from the A2 to B2041 The Mall.
The 4 options were assessed based on key issues including traffic capacity, traffic queueing, pedestrian crossing provision, traffic ‘U’ turning, land take required, estimated cost and programme and a preferred option identified.
A variation on Option 3 was selected to be taken forward as the preferred scheme. This option includes a signal-controlled arrangement for the junction of the A2 and A251 Ashford Road. Access to Preston Road is maintained while egress is possible via give way control for traffic heading east on the A2.
In addition two lanes are provided for each signal-controlled approach to the junction for approximately 50 metres before reverting to a single lane carriageway. A pedestrian crossing is also provided across the A2 Canterbury Road eastern arm. The existing priority junction layout at the A2/B2041 The Mall junction is retained in its current form.
The Preferred Option was found to provide improvement in junction capacity and to perform better in terms of land take, cost and the avoidance of traffic making U turns.
As Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport I approve the progression, via KCC’s Local Growth Fund arrangements, for the A2/A251 Junction Improvement Scheme; allowing it to progress to the next stages of development and delivery.
Specifically this comprises approval for:
i) KCC to act as the accountable body for the project;
ii) KCC to enter into a Local Growth Fund (LGF) funding agreement;
iii) KCC to progress all statutory approvals or consents required for the scheme;
iv) KCC to progress with the necessary land acquisitions required to deliver the scheme;
v) KCC to carry out public engagement on the scheme;
vi) KCC to enter into construction contracts as necessary for the delivery of the scheme
vii) The Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport, under the Officer Scheme of Delegations and in consultation with the Corporate Director for Finance and Procurement, to enter into relevant legal agreements and take other actions necessary to implement this decision.
Publication date: 30/07/2020
Date of decision: 30/07/2020
Effective from: 07/08/2020