WHY WE NEED J5 SLIPS........
A Fractured Road Network
When this junction was built in 1985, it had limited functionality. Freight and ordinary traffic that is approaching westbound from the Channel Ports via the M2o and the M26 to the Sevenoaks area is unable to use J5 to join the A21. Instead the traffic is forced to exit the motorway network prematurely at J2A of the M26 and travel along the A25. This is a winding "A" road which meanders through numerous villages, including Riverhead, St Johns, Seal, Borough Green and St Mary Platt. Conversely traffic from the Sevenoaks area, including Westerham, Limpsfield, Edenbridge, Oxted and Biggin Hill, is unable to take the logical route direct on to the M25 / M26 when travelling east to Maidstone and beyond.
This leads to unnecessary traffic congestion in several villages en route to Sevenoaks and its environs, with freight and long-distance vehicles mixing with commuters, shoppers and local traffic. Traffic heading to and from the A25 to villages west of Sevenoaks is also negatively impacted by road traffic, freight and a lack of access to the M26 at J5.
The longest distance between motorway exit points in Britain is found (partly) on the M26. Travelling west, after J2A, there are signs warning traffic that there is no exit for 18 miles. There is J5 and a service area in this distance, but at neither is there any option but to continue forwards on the M25. The next exit is M25 J6 at Godstone.
Traffic on the A25 is heavily congested, especially at the main junctions and peak periods. Unsurprisingly the areas with static and congested traffic are those that have the worst air quality. District Councils have a legal duty to monitor their environs to identify places where government defined air quality safety levels are exceeded and then to provide action plans to attempt to mitigate the danger. The areas where typically Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulates exceed these safety levels are designated Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). Several villages along the A25 have areas designated AQMAs.
Highways Agency Programme of Major Schemes is a targeted programme of improvement to the strategic road network. It includes the following schemes.
A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling
A21 Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst Improvement
The tender process for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Dualling and the Kippings Cross
to Lamberhurst Improvement began with invitations to tender in March 2007. These were returned in early July 2007 and assessment was completed in September 2007.
A21 Lamberhurst Bypass was opened on 23rd March 2005
M25 Jct 5 to 7 Widening
The M25 is one of Europe's busiest motorways, handling around 200,000 vehicles every day. It is at the core of our network and is suffering from increasing congestion levels and journey times We need to manage traffic flows better and to help achieve this we would widen the carriageways from dual 3 lanes to dual 4 lanes. We would build the new lanes partly over the current hard shoulders with new hard shoulders built alongside, except under or over bridges. We plan to do this within land we already own. We could start construction in 2012 subject tocoordination with other planned works on M25 and other major roadsi M25 Implementation of Advanced Traffic Management (ATM) to include hard shoulder working by 2015.
The A21 links the Hastings/Bexhill and Tunbridge Wells/Tonbridge conurbations to the M25, J5 and the trunk road network It fails to link to the M26 because of the missing east facing slips. The A21 is administered by the HA rather than Kent Highways because of its strategic importance and there is a continuing programme of investment, principally on dualling the remaining single carriageway sections. Likewise the J5 to J7 section of the M25 is to be significantly improved in terms of capacity and reliability with the implementation of road widening and advanced traffic management.
The Strategic Road Network
In 2007, 2.4 million3 road goods vehicles and unaccompanied trailers passed through Dover's roll-on roll-off ferries, while a further 1.4 million road goods vehicles used the Channel Tunnel shuttle service. Dover and the Channel Tunnel together account for over 6o per cent of the UK ro-ro market and underline the importance of the Dover Straits corridor for freight and logistics in the UK. This freight traffic utilises the M2o/M26 corridor where it approaches the London orbital corridor of the M25. J5 is used by freight heading to south-west, western and north-west England and to Wales. This freight traffic is augmented by van freight traffic which has 'increased markedly over the last few years and is predicted to continue to increase due to the steady rise in the Internet sales market.
The Department of Transport has set itself 'five high-level goals'.
- to support national economic competitiveness and growth, by delivering reliable and efficient transport networks;
_ to reduce transport's emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, with the desired outcome of tackling climate change;
_ to contribute to better safety, security and health and longer life expectancy through
reducing the risk of death, injury or illness arising from transport, and by promoting travel modes that are beneficial to health;
- to promote greater equality of opportunity for all citizens, with the desired outcome of achieving a fairer society; and
- to improve quality of Life for transport users and non-transport users, and to promote a healthy natural environment'
The Department has also set itself a series of National Networks Challenges including:
Reduce lost productive time on national transport networks, including by maintaining or improving the reliability and predictability of journey times for business and freight'
Challenge io: Impact offreight on quality of life, summarised as:
An appropriate andfair treatment of the impacts offreight and logistics operations on society, having regard to both the economic and environmentalfactors and with proper appreciation of both the benefits and issues.'
J5 is of major importance to the strategic road network as it links the A21, the M26 and the M25 and is vitally important to the national freight network. The building of the East Facing Slips would help to fulfil many of the Departments five goals and significantly contribute to the Department of Transports ability to meet its own challenges.
A series of infrastructure upgrades will soon be in place to the A21 and the M25 where the A21 joins. These will significantly increase capacity and reliability, so it would be perverse not to give the junction the much needed all-way working with the M26 to allow traffic to utilise the benefits of the investment.
There would be significant environmental benefits in air quality to those villages on or close to the A25, which are presently subjected to heavy and slow moving congested traffic. The removal of freight from the A25 would significantly improve road safety for pedestrians and other users.
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