WE ASKED HIGHWAYS ENGLAND, THEY SAID:-
Q. If the A226 diversion and junction is no longer in the plans, why has the land take still been included in the revised red line development boundary? We note that the development boundary no longer includes the land for the A128 junction but it still includes the land for the A226 junction.
A. Whilst the junction with the A226 has been removed from the route design we have for now retained the use of the land for potential temporary working space. The A128 was originally included in the scheme as part of the LTC/A13 junction. We are redesigning the A13 junction to no longer need that link which, in terms of land use, means we are no longer anticipating having any construction activity on the A128 hence its removal from the area inside development boundary. The two situations are different.
Q. We are disappointed that the tunnel southern portals are still located close to Chalk village, between Castle Lane and Church Lane. What progress has been made with considering extending them further, south of the A226 and closer to the A2?
A. Please be reassured that the location of the tunnel’s southern portal, and therefore the tunnel length, is still under review. We are still looking at the engineering and cost implications of moving the tunnel portal further south. I anticipate being able to tell you more early next year.
Q. We would really like to know what action will be taken to mitigate the adverse impacts of the link road (in terms of noise, visibility, and pollution) at least in broad terms. Is HE considering cut & cover? Screening? We really have no idea, and uncertainty generates concerns.
A. Mitigations for noise, visibility and air quality impacts for the southern link road are a work in progress and areas we would like communities to be involved in shaping.
We are still looking at the noise implications for this road. We will work with your communities and affected individuals to develop noise minimisation measures. These could include low-noise surfaces, noise-absorbent features and planting along the road, or perhaps noise insulation for specific properties. We will take this forward in more detail as the design develops.
Similarly, we would like to work with your communities to minimise the visual impacts of the road. This could include earth bunds, fencing, planting new hedges or similar; we’d like local people to influence this aspect of design and we may even find overlaps with a positive legacy project if, for example, there were a strong local desire for new planting or woodland.
We have already begun monitoring air quality along the entire route and will be working with the local authorities to develop appropriate mitigations. I assure you that we will keep you informed of progress and findings.
Q. We are surprised at the poor design of the A2 junction in the EIA drawings. It appears that all crossing traffic to and from the A2 (west) is expected to use the existing Gravesend East junctions and roundabouts. In the event of the frequent problems at Dartford, it is astonishing to think that HE would seriously expect diverted M25 traffic to use this junction. It would paralyse the A2 between Gravesend and Dartford, rendering journeys between London and the M2/Medway Towns impossible.
A. The LTC/A2 junction needs to be an all-new layout on the principle of uninterrupted flow between the A2 and the LTC avoiding congesting that point. We are looking at the implications for the existing junction and are taking into account local traffic movements in our redesign. As you are aware, we are currently verifying v3 of our traffic model, with the addition of last year’s traffic survey, and we will use its outputs to optimise all the LTC’s junctions’ designs.