The Southern Relief Road is dead in the water

08 Oct 2011
It was interesting to observe the commentary from Councillors on the LDF panel following Thursday’s unveiling of the second run of the long awaited transport model.

Cllr Bowles got very excited about the fact that Sittingbourne Town Centre could manage to actual reduce albeit by a small margin its traffic congestion following the next 20 years development, although bizarrely traffic flow would apparently decrease. Certainly an achievement is the traffic model is proved correct.

However the wider implications for the remainder of Swale were not nearly as good. The much fated Sittingbourne Southern Relief Road (SSRR) spectacularly fails to live up to the hype. Not only does it not address the big issue of M2 Junction 5 which will still require a major upgrade, but it also fails to act as the essential mitigation for the Northern Relief Road and to compound the problem further it creates a big increase of traffic on the M2.

These two cornerstones of any real transport plan for the borough remain unresolved and therefore pose a real threat to the soundness of any plan which might be forthcoming on this basis.

Once again Cllr Bowles was quick to comment and said “there is no point is upgrading M2 J5 because it simply pushes the problem down to the M20 J7”. Is this sufficient reason to bury our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away, surely not?

If you thought it couldn’t be much worse, you be disappointed to hear that the inclusion of the SSRR increases both congestion and traffic growth across Sittingbourne. And the model also clearly indicated that the primary beneficiary of this road the Kent Science Park will draw significantly more traffic from the M2 than the A2, meaning that the assumption is that the majority of new jobs would be filled from people outside of Swale.