Costing in excess of £100 million to create just 1,250 local jobs by 2056 is the Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road worth it?

17 Dec 2011
With traffic relief to the town centre its major selling point, and most of the surrounding network predicted to get far worse can this road even be justified on transport grounds?

On Monday evening a spokesperson for Kent Highways acknowledged that the road would only carry a mere 1,000 vehicle movements a day, claiming “that what happens if you put a road in the middle of nowhere” and that “there is not enough development to make the road function”

In response to a question over how they could possibly justify spending public money on the road, the reply was “We could not justify spending public money on this, it would have to be entirely privately funded”

It was also reported that the road and new motorway junction will cost around £100 million, but this figure had been disputed by the Highways Agency who estimate a much higher figure.

Quizzed about the direction and volume of traffic, Kent Highways acknowledged that most of the traffic was between the M2 and the Kent Science Park.

There were also concerns about the volume of traffic on the A2 at the north end of the proposed road which had been predicted to grow by as much as 27%. Kent Highways asserted that the A2 would not be able to cope with that level of increase and people don’t work like traffic models and will simply divert once the road starts grinding to a halt. This was followed by the prediction that the A2 will most likely only see a maximum of a 20% increase in traffic, even with the Southern Relief Road in place.

And finally back to those benefits to the transport network attributed to the Southern Relief Road, namely the town centre relief and small improvements to Junction 5, well quite simply the Southern Relief Road is merely a contributing factor and not the main reason for the improvements.

The majority of the Town Centre relief is derived from the Northern Relief Road with the Southern Relief Road adding some further additional benefit. The main reason for the small improvements to Junction 5 of the M2 was given as the development at the Port of Sheerness which was thought to decrease traffic using the A249 and therefore Junction 5.

The major difference between including the Southern Relief Road and not as displayed by the two traffic model runs, is a fairly large increase in congestion on all the major roads.