Liberal Democrat Councillors, Dan Daley and Rob Bird, have expressed huge disappointment and frustration at the latest Kent Highways proposals for North-west Maidstone. These proposals were unveiled at the January meeting of the Maidstone Joint Transportation Board.
The Lib Dems have welcomed the proposal to increase the capacity of the Coldharbour Roundabout connecting the A20 to Junction 5 on the M20. The roundabout will be doubled in size and A20 traffic from the West will be able to use a new slip road to access the M20.
However, these benefits will be totally undone by the proposal to remove the traffic lights at the roundabout.
Cllr Dan Daley commented, "prior to the installation of these lights, it was impossible to get out of Maidstone during the peak hours. Highways officers need to understand that they are critical."
"We are not going to give up on this. Experience and common-sense must prevail."
To add to residents' misery, Kent Highways have now decided that they will not be progressing the long-awaited improvements to the Duke of Edinburgh and Fountain junctions at the Southern end of Hermitage Lane.
Time after time, Kent Highways experts have endorsed developers' plans to mitigate the additional traffic in this bottleneck. Then suddenly, and without any warning, they announce that these plans are not capable of meeting Government funding criteria.
"This has come as a massive shock", says Cllr Rob Bird. "It's no wonder that so many local residents and motorists feel totally let down."
"The congestion in this area is already intolerable and is bound to get a lot worse without effective junction improvements. We have asked Highways planners to think again and to look at all options. However, we must all recognise that there are no easy solutions to this problem."