Maidstone Integrated Transport Package
- Capital Investment - Kent & Medway, More than £2m, LGF1
Design in progress
Expected completion date
The project consists of a package of transport interventions aimed at reducing congestion and easing traffic movements at pinch point locations within Maidstone.
The project consists of three phases:
Phase 1 – A20 Ashford Road/A274 Sutton Road/Willington Street
The A20 Ashford Road is the main route to Maidstone town centre from the east and has an average annual two-way daily flow of between 13,800 and 21,800 vehicles per hour, to the east and west of the Willington Street junction respectively.
The A274 Sutton Road corridor is the main route to Maidstone for the communities to the south east of the town, as well as serving the main commercial and industrial area of Maidstone. The A274 has a two-way average daily flow of 19,000 and peak flows of 1,680 vehicles per hour.
Willington Street provides an important link between the A20 and A274 corridors. The road is heavily used by traffic travelling between the two corridors, whilst attempting to avoid congestion in the town centre. Consequently there is a significant level of turning traffic at each end of Willington Street to and from the A20 and A274.
The junctions at each end of Willington Street are currently operating with significant delay for traffic on the A20, A274 and on Willington Street. The aim of the scheme is to ease congestion at these junctions, reducing delays and improving journey time reliability and the overall efficiency of the network.
Maidstone Borough Council is committed to the provision of 18,560 additional homes by 2031 as part of the Local Plan housing target. More than 2,000 of these homes are currently planned to the east of the town centre and in particular along the A274 corridor. Improvements to the junctions of Willington Street with the A20 and A274 will be crucial to accommodate additional demand arising from the new homes.
The scheme will improve the existing signalised junctions of Willington Street with the A20 and the A274 in order to maximise the efficiency of the network and reduce queueing and delays.
Phase 2 – M20 Junction 5, Coldharbour roundabout
The Coldharbour roundabout is the junction between the A20 and the link road to the M20 at junction 5. Coldharbour roundabout is a signalised roundabout which is a key pinch point due to traffic movements on the A20 between Maidstone and Malling (Ditton) built-up areas, and movements from each of the built-up areas to and from the motorway. The roundabout experiences significant congestion, particularly during the AM and PM peak periods.
Improvements to Coldharbour roundabout are required due to the considerable growth in the local area, with a recently approved planning application having an increased impact on the existing congestion at the junction. It is imperative that improvements are implemented to ensure that levels of congestion are reduced and journey time reliability is improved to allow extensive growth in the surrounding areas.
Phase 2 of the project will transform the existing signalised Coldharbour roundabout into an enlarged, non-signalised roundabout, providing additional entry lanes allowing lane designations that better align with traffic volume. It is anticipated that these improvements will both reduce congestion and unlock housing sites. In addition, the new roundabout design will remove a road traffic collision conflict point which exists on the current road layout.
Phase 3 – A229 Loose Road corridor and A20 London Road/Hall Road/Mills Road junction
Phase 3 of the project will deliver improvements to the following locations:
- The A229 Loose Road corridor – specifically the Armstrong Road and Wheatsheaf junctions; and
- The A20 London Road/Hall Road/Mills Road junction.
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. The objective of the A229 Loose Road corridor scheme is to deliver improvements in the traffic flow along this key corridor.
The A229 Loose Road corridor component of the project will specifically deliver capacity improvements at two key junctions on the A229 Loose Road to the south of Maidstone town centre. This element of the project will deliver the following:
- A229 Loose Road/Armstrong Road junction – provision of additional entry lanes on the A229 Loose Road (north) and Park View arms of the junction to create additional capacity at the junction;
- A229 Loose Road/Wheatsheaf junction – conversion of an existing 4-arm signal controlled junction to a 3-arm priority roundabout arrangement. The improvement involves the closure of the Cranbourne Avenue arm of the existing junction.
These improvements are expected to deliver the following benefits:
- Journey time savings;
- Improved journey time reliability;
- Reduced rat-running on unsuitable routes; and
- Enabling planned housing and employment growth.
Phase 3 of the project will also deliver improvements to the A20 London Road/Hall Road/Mills Road junction. This junction is to the north west of Maidstone and links the Quarry Wood Retail Park with the A20 London Road and is currently traffic signal controlled.
The junction currently suffers from poor journey times during peak periods, poor air quality and significant queues in the weekday AM and PM peak periods. In order to address these issues, the following works will be delivered:
- Removal of the existing traffic signal controlled junction;
- Provision of a new 4-arm roundabout;
- Re-alignment of the A20 western arm consisting of a two lane eastbound approach and central island widening;
- Additional entry lane allowing lane designation that better aligns with traffic volume;
- Upgrade of the existing traffic signal controlled pedestrian crossing on the A20 western arm;
- Relocation of the eastbound bus stop to the west of the roundabout; and
- Modification to adjacent pedestrian facilities.
It is expected that these improvements will deliver travel time improvements, air quality improvements, impacts on accidents and safety and will support the delivery of 3,900 houses which are to be built in the area adjacent to the junction.
The project was considered by Accountability Board on 12th April 2019, with the Board agreeing to a proposed change in project scope for Phase 1 of the project.
The original scope of Phase 1 of the project was to improve the operation of the junctions at either end of Willington Street, through improvements to the existing signalised junctions. The proposals for Phase 1 were not supported locally and as a result the works were put on hold whilst alternative scheme proposals were developed for the improvements to Willington Street.
Proposals have now been put forward by Kent County Council to deliver larger scale improvements to the A20 Ashford Road/Willington Road junction, including the removal of existing traffic signals, widening and realignment of the junction with turning lane facility and improvements to pedestrian facilities. Initial public engagement shows increased support for the revised proposals.
In order to bring forward these works an additional £700,000 of LGF funding is required. To make this funding available the scope of Phase 3 of the project has been reduced by removing proposed improvements to the Cripple Street and Boughton Lane junction from the Loose Road Corridor scheme. It is expected that Kent County Council will seek alternative funding to bring forward these improvements in the future.
As a result of the increased scale of the improvements to the A20 Ashford Road/Willington Street junction, improvements will no longer be delivered at the A274 Sutton Road/Willington Street junction as part of Phase 1 of the project.
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.
£570m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock
In total the SELEP Growth Deal with Government has brought nearly £600m of investment to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock and over the lifetime of the Deal (2015-2021) we aim to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes.
The deal and brings new responsibilities and flexibilities and is set to attract a further £960 million extra investment into the South East over the five years.
Maidstone ITP - Phase 2 Business Case
Maidstone ITP - Phase 3 Business Case
Maidstone ITP - Phase 1 Business Case (amended)