Following the public consultation on the M2 Junction 5 improvement scheme which took place at the end of last year, Highways England has actually listened to the public and abandoned its favoured Option 12A which was set to cost £100 million and drawn up new plans which include a flyover.
Highway England has told us “There was little support for Option 12A with 68% of the general public not supporting this option. Highways England, therefore, undertook a review of the rejected flyover option (Option 4) to determine if there were opportunities to reduce the cost of the scheme, whilst maintaining the benefits of this option.”
“A revised scheme has been developed, referred to as Option 4H1. This option delivers the Roads Investment Strategy 1 outcomes, increases safety benefits over Option 12A and ensures there are no traffic signals on the A249 mainline. We are today pleased to announce Option 4H1 as our preferred route.”
Now you might recall that the original option 4 was set to cost in the region of £158 million, and the budget had been set at £100 million, so how have they done it?
Highways England says “Although the revised Option 4H1 is lower than the cost of Option 4, it still remains above the original allocated budget. We have had a series of discussions with external partners to identify additional financial contributions to the scheme and now includes a £2.5 million contribution from Kent County Council.”
We are told that they are at the beginning of Stage 3 – preliminary design and now that the preferred route has been announced, they will carry out more detailed surveys and investigations to provide a more detailed design.
There will be a series of public information events in late 2018/early 2019 and work is expected to start on site no later than March 2020.