HISTORY

HOME A21 DUALLING CAMPAIGN J5 MAPS HISTORY TRAFFIC WHY... MEMBERSHIP Sir John Stanley SUPPORT W KENT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE KCC TMBC MICHAEL FALLON MP



 

The following are extracts from a typed briefing note to Transport Ministers 05 May 1984, prior to the official announcement that the Otford Slips project was to be cancelled:

3. There is no provision at the Chevening Interchange for connect-ions between the M26 and the local road network, or between the M26 and the new section of M25 northwards to Swanley.There is, there-fore, no access to the M26/M25 eastbound route, or exit from it, for 18 miles between Wrotham and Godstone. The plan at Annex C shows the present arrangements at the interchange, and the four additional slip roads (in red) which would have been needed to provide the missing connections.

5. The absence of east-facing slips at Chevening was highlighted by the opening of the M26 in November 1980, and attracted critical comment from the public and in the national press, together with letters from five MPs and a Question in the Lords.

The below article by Bob Ogley, and the picture, appeared in the Chronicle of Sept 18th 2008.

 

The M26 is the longest sliproad" in Britain. Travelling west from Wrotham there is no exit for 18 miles Additionally, there is no access to the motorway from Sevenoaks so all it does is cut the corner for traffic going between the M25 southern section and the M20.

For more than 25 years parish and town counci clerks, town and district councils, the Freight Transport Association and numerous other bodies have lobbied MP Michael Fallon, his predecessor Mark Wolfson and the Highways Agency for help in providing a set of new sliproads at junction five. This week Tim Shaw from Borough Green asks me if I can tell him any more about the saga of the M26, "Apparently access to and from Sevenoaks was included in the original design," he writes, "but the roads were never actually installed because of their proximity to  Chevening House.where the royal newlyweds were due to live”.

            "

That was certainly rumour going around at the time. The M26 opened  in November 1980.

a few months before Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. By then Charles had decided not to live at Chevening, preferring a country house well away from London, the tabloid newspapers and a busy motorway.

Construction of the M26 began in 1977, al-though a route on a similar alignment was originally proposed in the Greater London Plan in 1944 as part of proposed post war improvements to London area transport network.

 

Those proposals were developed further in the 1960s as part of the London Ringwaye plan and the route of the M26 at that time formed part of Ringway four and would have been designated as part of the M25.

 

I was editor of The Chronicle when we had made it quite clear there was not going to be an eastern link. This escaped the attention of many motorists until the tape was cut Suddenly scores of angry drivers were ringing the police and dis­trict council to say the motorway was useless as a relief road. The Chronicle described it as one of the "greatest blunders in motorway construction" and immediately incurred the wrath of county councillors and officials of the South-East Road Construction Unit who said that no alternative link could be built until they had full working knowledge of the effects of the M25.

"Only then," they said. "would they consider slip roads to allow traffic on and off the M26". On further inquiries The Chronicle discovered the Department of Transport was making detailed design studies of the Otford Road where the "new link would be environmentally acceptable". Per­haps it was only a matter of time.

 

The missing links were never built despite pres­sure on Mr Wolfson and Kent County Council from a succession of groups. Access at Otford Road was rejected because freight traffic from Sevenoaks could access the Channel Ports by the M26 and the M20 at the Swanley roundabout. Today this "glorified sliproad” has a place on an internet site called Pathetic Motorways. Here there is an explanation about its creation and an offer for frustrated motorists to have their say. It also appears the M26 also has its own fan club! I understand Kent County Council has been lobbying the Highways Agency for the install­ation of a new junction with the A225. to improve access to Sevenoaks. That is option one

The alternative is a set of new sliproads at ]unction five. I wonder if it will ever happen?

ROAD TO HELL - This aerial picture shows the nearly constructed bridge for the M26 over the Sevenaoks Bypass at Chipstead, long before work began on the M25 and M26.