A21 widening given the go ahead

MOTORISTS travelling between Hastings and London were given cause to celebrate after a multi-million pound scheme to widen a notorious section of the A21 was given the green light today (May 1).

It was confirmed that the much-needed scheme to provide vital extra capacity on the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury, an accident blackspot, will go ahead.

The Highways Agency estimates that the scheme could cost between £59m and £78.6m.

The decision, announced by Roads Minister Robert Goodwill, follows a public inquiry held in May 2013.

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.

The major road scheme will make journeys on the A21 safer and more reliable and deliver a fivefold return on investment for the UK economy.

Bexhill and Battle MP Greg Barker welcomed the news.

He said: “This is terrific news, not just for local motorists but our whole area.

“Upgrading the A21, to make it a safer and more reliable transport link to London is at the top of my priority list.”

Road Minister Robert Goodwill said: “This is great news not only for residents and businesses who use the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury, but also for the local economy.

“The next steps demonstrate the Government’s clear £15.1 billion commitment to our road network in boosting capacity on our motorways and major trunk roads by 2021.”

Highways Agency project manager Graham Link added: “The A21 is a vital route linking the Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells and Hastings/Bexhill areas to the M25 and London.

“The new section will provide much needed capacity to reduce congestion and will also improve safety with new junctions provided and a better road layout.”

The A21 upgrade is one of six major road schemes that the Highways Agency is developing for delivery after 2015 and is in addition to the 24 major road projects on England’s motorways and major A roads being delivered between 2010 and 2015.

The Highways Agency will now complete the processing of legal documents and will appoint a contractor for the scheme. Advance work could start in Autumn 2014 with main construction as early as Spring 2015.