Kent Strategic Congestion Management programme
- Capital Investment - Kent & Medway, More than £2m, LGF1
LGF project delivered
Expected completion date
The Kent Strategic Congestion Management programme will deliver improvements in order to maximise the efficiency of the local highway network as traffic levels increase in line with development. The Kent Strategic Congestion Management programme strategy incorporates a methodology of assessing areas or road links that suffer from congestion and unreliability. The strategy uses a number of criteria to score road links that are then assessed in more detail to establish the worst performing links. The new Local Transport Plan adopts this approach to tackle unreliable sections of the road network as a way of supporting economic growth. Schemes have been brought forward for funding approval on an annual basis since 2015/16, with the last scheme receiving funding approval in July 2020, as detailed:
- Highways Management Centre Technology Refresh – improvements to database management, CCTV and network coverage of Variable Message Signs to improve traffic management and the effectiveness of the Highways Management Centre;
- A229 Bluebell Hill approach and northbound off-slip towards the Taddington roundabout (M2 junction 3) – the A229 is a primary route linking Chatham to the north, with Maidstone to the south. Traffic flows on Bluebell Hill are heavy and at peak traffic periods, a significant queue forms in lane 1 of the northbound carriageway on the approach to the junction, whilst some traffic continues in lane 2 and cuts into the stream closer to the junction. In addition, there are also issues on the southbound carriageway and at the M2 interchange. The proposed works will aim to address the congestion issues, whilst also reducing the number of collisions currently recorded within the interchange;
- A229/A274 Wheatsheaf junction improvements – traffic using the A229 and A274 routes suffers from excessive congestion caused by the current design/operation of the Wheatsheaf junction. This problem causes congestion and air pollution in the local area. Improvements will be delivered which will improve capacity and reduce congestion at the junction.
- EU Connected Corridor – part 1 – a pan-European project to introduce a Connected Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS) corridor from Blackfriars in London to the Port of Dover via the M2 and A2 through Kent;
- A292 Mace Lane/Wellesley Road junction improvements, Ashford – the A292 is the main corridor for accessing Ashford, linking growth sites between the north and south of Ashford. Junction improvements will be delivered which will increase capacity and reduce congestion at the junction;
- A292 Somerset Road/Canterbury Road junction improvements, Ashford – the A292 is the main corridor for accessing Ashford, linking growth sites between the north and south of Ashford. Junction improvements will be delivered which will increase capacity and reduce congestion at the junction;
- A229 Loose Road, Armstrong Road and Sheal’s Crescent junction improvements, Maidstone – the A229 is a key radial route to the south of Maidstone town centre, with limited alternative route options in the area. The A229 suffers from severe congestion in peak periods and significant traffic throughout the day. Junction improvements will be delivered in order to improve the traffic flow along this key corridor.
- EU Connected Corridor – part 2 – delivery of an extension to a pan-European project to introduce a Connected Intelligent Transport System (C-ITS) corridor from London Blackfriars to the Port of Dover via the M2 and A2. The aim is to integrate the Project seamlessly into the Kent road network by extending the project onto the A229 which connects the M20 and M2 motorways and forming a key corridor in the event of a major disruption on the strategic road network. Increasing automation will increase efficiency, reduce crashes and reduce congestion;
- A225 Princes Road/Darenth Road Hotspot Scheme – implementation of junction improvements including upgrading traffic signals, updating the bus priority system and implementation of pedestrian crossing facilities;
- A2500 Lower Road/Barton Hill Drive junction, Sheppey – a temporary trial signal junction configuration has been put in place which has improved the traffic flow at this junction. The LGF funding will be used to convert the temporary solution to a semi-permanent arrangement.
- Wateringbury Crossroads improvements – Wateringbury Crossroads is a signal controlled junction on the A26 route between Maidstone, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells which causes delays and journey time reliability issues during peak hours. The improvements will deliver an additional left turn lane on the south arm of the junction, to improve junction capacity;
- Tunbridge Wells Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) improvements – improving the efficiency of the use of existing infrastructure, through implementing ITS measures at various locations on the arterial routes into Tunbridge Wells. The technology improvements will link the junction technology to the Highways Management Centre to improve traffic management and journey times through these junctions;
- Elwick Road/A2042 junction, Ashford – improvements to increase junction capacity, improve safety and help unlock growth in the town centre and the areas surrounding Ashford International Railway Station;
- MOVA Implementation Programme – Thanet and Tunbridge Wells are areas that particularly suffer from journey time reliability issues. It is intended that traffic signals at specific existing signalised junctions will be upgraded to MOVA junction control. The MOVA system adjusts the timing of the signals automatically based on the queue length on different arms of the junction using live traffic flow data helping to improve the efficiency of the junctions and journey time reliability;
- Dover Traffic Assessment Project (TAP) – with the planned expansion of the Port of Dover through the Dover Western Docks Revival Project and the redevelopment of Dover Town Centre, Kent County Council intends to conduct an assessment of the impact of TAP on the local road network. Specific measures to be delivered will concentrate on linking the Highways England and Kent County Council traffic management assets, such as traffic signals, to improve the traffic management, along with measures such as improved traffic signals and road markings.
- A2042/A2070 roundabout, Kingsnorth, Ashford – junction improvements including incorporation of a Dutch style “Flemmish Roundabout”, which will provide a new layout that will effectively double capacity for particular movements hence relieving congestion and the likelihood of accidents;
- Dover TAP congestion strategy implementation – Dover TAP is a temporary traffic management system which queues port-bound lorries in the nearside lane of the A20 after the Roundhill Tunnel to prevent Dover becoming congested with traffic. This scheme will deliver a package of improvements to help reduce the impact of TAP including improvements to traffic signal operations through linking key junctions, introduction of new Intelligent Transportation Systems technologies and bus priority measures which will link to a future rapid bus transport scheme;
- Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) trial scheme – with the objective of concentrating goods vehicle use on the most suitable routes, the implementation of the scheme will reduce congestion and minimise the worst environmental and social effects of HGV movements, whilst recognising the need for effective and efficient transport links;
- INRIX – implementation of software that will provide technical analysis, charts, tables and visualisations of collated traffic data for urban roads. The software will help to improve KCC’s understanding of how the network operates, monitoring of network performance and ability to identify and prioritise congestion hotspots where appropriate measures can be considered and implemented;
- Swanley Station congestion relief – creation of a new one-way system which will improve congestion and journey times to and from the station as well as on the surrounding road network in Swanley. The improvements also include walking and cycling enhancements to promote a more attractive route for active mode users.
- A2/A251 junction improvements, Faversham – conversion of the existing priority junction to a signal-controlled junction with pedestrian provision. The improvements will unlock commercial and residential development sites which will support both growth and economic development, reduce congestion, deliver air quality improvements and improve journey time reliability.
An update on the project was presented to Accountability Board on 15th June 2018 and it was noted that the following three schemes would not be taken forward as part of the programme:
- A229 Bluebell Hill approach and northbound off-slip towards the Taddington roundabout (M2 junction 3) – Kent County Council sought to develop a suitable scheme that improved the crash record at the location, met the needs of Highways England and the objectives of the Kent Strategic Congestion Management Programme. As the scheme was developed it was evident that while the initial scheme had merit, and was supported by the initial modelling work, it was clear that a bigger scheme could unlock greater growth potential. As a result Kent County Council now intend to complete an expanded investigation in order to identify a larger improvement scheme;
- A229/A274 Wheatsheaf junction improvements – improvements to this junction are now being investigated as part of the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package LGF scheme;
- A229 Loose Road, Armstrong Road and Sheal’s Crescent junction improvements – improvements to this junction are now being investigated as part of the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package LGF scheme.
The £242,000 LGF funding allocated to these schemes was reallocated to other schemes within the programme.
A further update on the project was presented to the Accountability Board on 3rd July 2020 and it was agreed that the Wateringbury Crossroads Improvements scheme would not be taken forward as part of the programme. Kent County Council sought to bring forward improvements to increase the capacity at the junction, thereby reducing delays and improving journey time reliability. However, further development work identified that the proposed improvements could not be delivered within the available budget allocation, in part due to higher than anticipated utility diversion costs. Kent County Council are looking to identify alternative funding streams to allow delivery of improvements to the junction in the future.
£0.2m of the LGF funding allocated to the Wateringbury Crossroads Improvements scheme was reallocated to the A2/A251 junction improvements scheme in Faversham. The remaining £0.1m was returned to SELEP for reallocation through the LGF project pipeline.
Award of additional LGF funding
The LGF COVID-19 response fund was established to support those existing LGF projects which were experiencing a funding gap due to cost increases or loss of local funding sources as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A new LGF project pipeline, consisting of existing LGF projects, was agreed by the Strategic Board in December 2020 and will be used as the basis for awarding all currently unallocated LGF funding.
The Dover TAP element of this project was included on the new LGF project pipeline and the award of an additional £0.1m LGF was approved by Accountability Board on 12th February 2021.
Capital Programme delivery update
Take a look at our update on the delivery of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Growing Places Fund (GPF) capital programmes.
£579m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock
In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought £579m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal (2015-2021) we aim to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes across the SELEP area, with the Deal set to attract a further £960m of investment into the South East over the six year period.
Find out more here
KSCMP - 2019/20 Business Case
KSCMP - 2020/21 Business Case
Application for additional LGF