Ebbsfleet Development Corporation has announced it is to invest £45million to improve the A2 and guarantee delivery of the vital project for North Kent.
The development corporation responsible for the huge Ebbsfleet Garden City project, said it will be used to fund major improvements at the Bean and Ebbsfleet junctions and the investment ensures work will finally start in 2019, years after it was first talked about.
The corporation’s £45million towards the £125million overall cost will help guarantee work will be carried out on the two junctions, which includes an additional bridge over the A2, providing a new slip road onto the A2, and enlarging the roundabout at Bean, while at Ebbsfleet both roundabouts are set to be enlarged and traffic lights will be installed.
The investment will be recovered through developer contributions which house builders have to pay as the Garden City progresses.
Paul Spooner, Interim Chief Executive of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “This is a major commitment by us to ensure the A2 continues to move.
“With up to 15,000 new homes in Ebbsfleet Garden City, we are well aware the strain that could place on local traffic, particularly at these two junctions, and this money enables that work to now go-ahead.
“Through our extensive work with new and existing communities we know traffic is a concern. With these improvements and a commitment from us to improve public transport in the area with a new upgraded Fastrack service, we are helping address those concerns and ensure traffic continues to flow as we see 5,100 homes completed here by 2021.”
Developers have welcomed the move by the corporation.
Chris Lilley, managing director of Redrow Homes (South East), which is building 950 homes at Ebbsfleet Green, said: “Among the many reasons homebuyers are drawn to Ebbsfleet is the location, offering fantastic commuter connections by rail at Ebbsfleet International. This forward investment into the A2 will provide various improvements all geared towards alleviating what is a very busy route and it’s a major commitment to ensuring local residents can enjoy better travel by road as well as rail as the Garden City develops.”
Iain McPherson, Managing Director of Countryside New Homes & Communities South, which is developing 800 homes at Springhead Park, said: “Infrastructure plays a vital role in the development of the Garden City and the guaranteed funding from the corporation means much needed improvements can go-ahead.”
Peter Nelson, Managing Director of Henley Camland, which is developing part of Eastern Quarry, said: “Ensuring the A2 moves freely is one of the most important aspects to the Garden City. These improvements are not only good for those living in the Garden City and surrounding areas but also for those businesses who will invest in the future.”
The proposed Bean junction improvements will broadly follow the existing road layout but include an additional bridge over the A2 next to the existing bridge, and a new slip road onto the A2 for eastbound traffic. The current roundabouts will be enlarged and converted to traffic signal control. A new bridge over the A2 for southbound traffic will be provided to the east of the existing Bean Lane overbridge, which will be retained for northbound traffic.
The improvements which have been proposed for the Ebbsfleet junction will again closely follow the existing road layout, with the existing roundabouts being enlarged and controlled by traffic signals. The link road between the roundabouts will be widened to a dual carriageway. The eastbound and westbound slip roads to the A2 will also be widened.
The scheme will help to increase capacity on the road network to accommodate future growth, improve journey times and smooth traffic through the junctions, as well as provide better facilities to non-motorised users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and horses.
A public consultation on the options was held from Wednesday 18 January 2017 to Wednesday 1 March 2017. A total of 169 responses were received during this consultation. A copy of the consultation report can be found on the Highways England website and copies of the announcement flyer are available online or at a variety of locations in the local area.
Anyone interested in the scheme can sign up to receive updates via the project page on the Highways England website where they can also find an animated visualisation outlining the preferred route: http://www.highways.gov.uk/a2be
Last month the corporation announced a £30million deal which will provide electricity to the Garden City and speed up housing delivery. A new primary school at Castle Hill opens shortly and next month the Garden City will see its first restaurant and pub open.
More than 600 homes were under construction in Ebbsfleet Garden City in the last year and in September it is expected the 700th home will have been completed.
Work has started on a £12million bridge linking Springhead Park to Ebbsfleet International Station and new walking and cycling routes are planned so householders are not as reliant on their cars.