Highways England’s latest thinking, announced on 1st November 2017, is to remove the proposed junction from the A226 between Chalk and Shorne, in order to reduce the traffic impact on local roads.
However, the new plan indicates that the link roads will now be 3 lanes in each direction, and entails the widening of the A2 from 4 to 5 lanes from the junction east of Gravesend all the way to the M2.
The removal of the junction on the A226 is of course good news, although it is still included in the redline development boundary plans. The changes to the redline development boundary in other areas need further explanation and clarification.
In any event, people should be under no illusion about the level of traffic, pollution, and environmental damage that the crossing east of Gravesend will bring to this area.
The removal of the A226 junction allows the tunnel portals to be moved further south, away from Chalk, and it is disappointing that Highways England has not made this decision yet.
Whilst it is encouraging that they are continuing their assessment about the length of the tunnel and where to locate the entrances, it is essential that the tunnels are extended as close to the A2 as possible to minimise the impact on the lives of people living in Thong and Shorne West.
The Parish Council will be meeting Highways England soon to seek further information.