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Renaming the Northern Distributer Road the Northern Relief Road was surely someone’s idea of a joke?

Home / Blog / Renaming the Northern Distributer Road the Northern Relief Road was surely someone’s idea of a joke?
Today you may have seen my comments in the Sittingbourne News Extra with regards to the completion of the Northern Relief Road.

I know full well that this is a divisive issue and that not everyone will agree with me. However I would just say that I have spent many years looking at a lot of material submitted by Kent Highways in connection with both this scheme and other transport schemes across the borough and that there are a few facts that are largely misunderstood by the general public.

When you read commentary such as this from Council Leader Andrew Bowles, you might be forgiven for believing that he is talking from a position of authority.

“If we get the maximum funding it would transform Sittingbourne, including the relief road, because it would provide alternatives to junction 5 of the M2 and for lorries from Sittingbourne and Sheppey to the Channel ports. It could open up employment at the Kent Science Park.”

The Council leader is obviously entitled to his opinions, but that’s all they are just his opinions, there is no hard factual evidence to support the conclusions he reaches.

This is not a debate about whether or not the Northern Relief Road will create traffic chaos on the A2, that is now a well-accepted fact, but one which surrounds the potential solutions to the misery that this so called relief road will create.

The Council have long argued that building yet another vastly expensive relief road in the form of an A2/M2 link is the answer, however to date the transport model has at best been inconclusive and highlights a considerable number of problems.

In fact, with far less traffic predicted to use the road than anticipated, Kent Highways suggested an alignment of the road as close to the town centre as possible to try and generate more traffic. All the evidence suggests that the main users of a Southern Relief Road would unsurprisingly originate from the Kent Science Park and also from within Sittingbourne Town Centre.

Given that the Northern Relief Road is predicted to become a shortcut to Faversham from the northern industrial estates and Sheppey, none of which will enter directly into Sittingbourne Town Centre it is fairly obvious that a Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road won’t be of much use in removing this traffic off of the A2.

It’s fairly well known that using the A2 knocks off a significant number of miles if travelling to Faversham and beyond compared with the A249 and M2. The only route option considered in the traffic modelling, i.e. the one selected by the Kent Science Park that is fundamentally identical to that proposed 10 years ago, would not offer a saving in mileage and therefore be unlikely to have much appeal with local haulage operations or I imagine most other users either.

Therefore I contend, as I have for several years now, that the Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road is not and never will be a solution for the enormous increase in traffic on the A2 resulting from completing the Northern Relief Road.

It should also be noted that even with the maximum funding and if used exclusively on these two road projects and nothing else, it would not be nearly enough money.

Andy Hudson


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One other factor which should be considered is that almost certainly a new road to the east of Sittingbourne will in time be considered to be the natural boundary that side of the town.  So we can look forward (as the Kent Science Park promised us some time ago) to concrete all the way the way from Swanstree Avenue and Highsted Road to the motorway link.    And all this is supposed to be to relieve congestion at Junction 5.   In the short term that could be achieved by getting rid of the traffic lights and in the long term by the construction of a bailey bridge type structure to take through traffic over the junction as at the A12/A127 junction in Romford.
Comment by Malcolm Moore on 02 Mar 2014
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