IMPROVEMENTS to the A21 have moved a step closer with the appointment of a contractor for the upgrades.
The £69.7m scheme to widen the stretch of road between Tonbridge and Pembury, part of a record investment by the Government in road improvements of £24bn by 2021, will be constructed by Balfour Beatty.
Advance work is expected to start this autumn, with main construction scheduled to start in spring 2015.
A 2.5 mile section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury in Kent will be upgraded from single to dual carriageway, adding a lane in each direction, upgrading junctions and improving the road layout.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Additional capacity on roads is vital for the four million drivers that use our motorways and major trunk roads each day.
“This will boost the local economy and is part of the Government’s biggest programme of road enhancements since the 1970s.”
Highways project manager Graham Link said: “This scheme will improve journeys on the A21 by reducing congestion and improving safety for the 35,200 drivers that use this section each day.
“The A21 is a vital link between London and Hastings as well as connecting local towns.
“Providing better infrastructure will help the local and national economy, helping to support businesses and creating jobs.”
Stephen Tarr, Balfour Beatty managing director for major projects, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to upgrade the A21.
“Balfour Beatty has a strong track record of delivering major road schemes both nationally and in the region on time and to budget.
“Our commitment to building sustainably, engaging with local stakeholders, and employing a local supply chain is key to our success and we aim to leave a lasting legacy as a thoughtful contractor behind us.”
The announcement follows successful completion of all the statutory planning procedures, which means that no further legal objections can be made.
Evidence given at the public enquiry last year showed that journey times will be improved along this section on the A21 by up to 65 percent in 2017 and the number of collisions reduced by 60 percent.