Highways England cancels plans to close M20 slip roads at Ashford in August
Highways England has backtracked on its decision to permanently close two M20 slip roads next week.
KentLive revealed on Sunday (July 28) Highways England had announced the coastbound slip road onto the M20 at junction 10 would be shut from Monday, August 5.
The Londonbound exit slip road at the same junction was also pegged for permanent closure that day.
But now, bosses at the agency have made a U-turn after “talks with local stakeholders”.
A spokesman said: “We are making good progress on creating a new M20 junction for Ashford, which will tackle congestion and bring huge benefits for the town.
“The project has always involved closing the east facing slip roads at the existing junction 10, as they will be superseded by the new junction.
“We had been preparing to make this change from next week but having spoken with local stakeholders we will now do it at a later date.
“Minimising disruption from the roadworks is a priority for us and we are always happy to take local views into account.”
The closures were always planned, says Highways, and are to allow for new ones to be constructed at junction 10a , which is expected to partly open in the autumn of this year .
Some motorists were left confused at the plans to shut the slip roads before the replacements were opened.
One driver said: “What idiot thought of shutting these slip roads ages before 10a is ready.
“Surely the new junction could have been made ready with the slip roads available to go coastbound or off londonbound before they close the existing on junction 10.
“They obviously don’t live here and have to use these junctions.”
Although the closure has been postponed, it is unclear exactly when the slip roads will now be closed.
A date has not yet been announced and there is no indication of whether it will be before or after the new ones at junction 10a open.
When will junction 10a works finish?
Highways England currently predict that works will end in the summer of 2020 if everything runs smoothly and on schedule.
They hope that the new junction and link road will be open for traffic in autumn of this year.
The new motorway gyratory over the M20 has now been installed after both East and West Interchange bridges were built during weekend closures.
In the immediate future, workers will surface the new A2070 roundabout, install the new Church Road footbridge and build the slip roads for the new junction.
When it is all finished, there will be:
- a new roundabout over the motorway
- new slip roads
- a new link road to the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road, with traffic signals on parts of the junction and two 3-lane bridges
- removal of the east facing slip roads at the existing junction 10
- A20 Hythe Road incorporated in the new junction so that the traffic in both directions can travel via the new roundabout
- a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M20 from Kingsford Street to the A20, demolishing the existing Highfield Lane Bridge
- replacement of Church Road footbridge over the A2070