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An extra lane is to be opened on the coastbound carriageway of the A20 Roundhill Viaduct near Folkestone to improve traffic flow, as work continues on damaged components on the structure.
The lane will be installed during a series of overnight closures of the coastbound carriageway, during which road markings, traffic management and signs will also be changed.
A 30mph speed restriction will continue to be in force when the new lane is in operation.
Highways Agency route manager Paul Harwood said:
“We are aiming to have the extra lane installed by the coming August bank holiday, which will go some way to alleviating the congestion currently occurring at the viaduct and ensure the road remains open safely in both directions.
“The work to install the extra lane is taking place overnight, when traffic flows are lower, to minimise any additional inconvenience.
“We are continuing to work to replace the damaged expansion joints. These are highly specialised components, which need to be designed specifically for this application, then manufactured and fitted. This is likely to take several months so it is unlikely that the permanent repair will be completed before the New Year. However, we will continue to work hard to reopen the road as quickly as possible, and to manage the traffic until the joints are replaced.
“There is no work planned for the London bound carriageway at this time, and this will remain open during this work, but traffic flow in this direction will continue to be monitored.”
Expansion joints help protect bridges’ structures by allowing them to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature.
The work to install the second lane coastbound, which will be a narrow lane for vehicles no wider than six feet and six inches, began during the planned overnight tunnel maintenance closure on Thursday 11 August. A further overnight closure is planned for tonight, Friday 12 August. This will be followed by overnight coastbound closures next week, on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 August, and a further possible overnight closure on Wednesday 17August if needed.
There will be clearly signed diversion routes during the overnight closures .
The closures of 11, 12, 16 and 17 (if needed) August will use the normal diversion routes for Roundhill tunnel closures, with traffic exiting at junction 13 and being diverted via the A259 and the A260, to rejoin the A20 at Alkham Valley.
The overnight closure of Monday 15 August needs to be from junction 12 to allow the current traffic management on the approach to the viaduct to be removed. This closure will be from midnight until 6am. Vehicles will be directed to exit at junction 12, travel along Cheriton High Street, turn left onto Cherry Garden Avenue, then right onto Churchill Avenue. They will then be directed to turn left onto the A260 Canterbury Road, to rejoin the A20 at Alkham Valley. Vehicles wishing to join at junction 13 coastbound will also be directed to use this route.
Thanks to Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald Joint Venture for the photo