Local MP Greg Clark and representatives from Kent County Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, and construction solutions company Lafarge Tarmac this week marked the start of work on the much-anticipated congestion-busting Longfield Road scheme.
The year-long upgrade will involve dualling one kilometre of the current carriageway between Dowding Way roundabout and the A21 and replacing existing traffic signals with roundabouts. There will also be a shared footway and cycleway along the improved road. A public exhibition of the Longfield Road scheme will be held between 4.00pm – 8.00pm on Monday 21 July and Tuesday 22 July, in the John Lewis car park off Kings Standing Way, where more information will be available and any questions can be answered.
David Brazier, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport, said: “It is some achievement to have reached this stage after bidding then successfully securing Department for Transport funding, securing a contribution from the Knights Park developer and working with landowners who have dedicated land required for the scheme. Of course, we are not in the clear yet – now we have to build the road. The inevitable inconvenience will be kept to a minimum by careful planning around peak times, so we avoid working in the pre-Christmas rush to minimise the scheme’s impact. In the end, we have to bear in mind that a great many people will benefit, including the North Farm businesses and hundreds of thousands people who travel here every year. My main message to retailers and customers is that North Farm remains fully open for business and access will be available at all times.”
Local MP Greg Clark said: “This is a momentous day for Tunbridge Wells with work actually starting on the ground to try and sort out the traffic nightmare of North Farm. It’s also great news that Kent Highways is planning to keep disruption to a minimum by limiting road closures to the night so that businesses on North Farm can continue to operate as normal. The combination of this project with the A21 dualling and the plan to reduce congestion along the A26, means that we can all look forward to happier days on our local roads.”
Councillor David Jukes, Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, said: “This will inevitably cause delays for the next 10 months but the final result will be worth it and hopefully get rid of two decades of congestion that we’ve all had to put up with. I think this is a great example of the borough council and county council working together and trust we can use the same methods for future projects.”
Warren Perrin, General Manager for Lafarge Tarmac Contracting South East, said: “As the main contractor, Lafarge Tarmac is committed to delivering this scheme safely with the minimum disruption to the local community and we’ll be working hard to keep residents and businesses up to date with progress for the duration of the work.”
Picture: (from left) Lafarge Tarmac’s Warren Perrin, KCC’s David Brazier, Greg Clark MP, TWBC’s David Jukes, KCC Director of Highways, Transportation & Waste John Burr, and Amey project manager Colin Shorter