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25 November 2016, 18:26
A21 Tonbridge To Penbury Opening Summer 2017, with new footpath for cyclists and pedestrians for a link between Tonbridge Station and Penbury Hospital.
Highways England say cyclists and pedestrians in Kent are set to benefit from significantly improved links along the upgraded the A21, Highways England announced.
The A21 is being upgraded to a dual carriageway between Tonbridge and Pembury making journeys more reliable and improving safety on this vital route between London and Hastings.
Now, extra links are to be built connecting the upgraded paths to Tonbridge Station to the north and Pembury Hospital to the south. A new path for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders are already being built along the whole length of the upgraded road.
The footpath along the A21 will be constructed by Highways England as part of the A21 major improvement scheme and includes a new footbridge at Blackhurst Lane.
Highways England project manager Anne-Marie Palmer said:
“The improvements we’re delivering on the A21 will bring real benefits. At the same time as reducing congestion on the A21 itself, we will also be improving facilities for the community with a brand new pedestrian, cycle and equestrian route connecting Tonbridge and Pembury. These extra enhancements will help to ensure that the new facilities will bring maximum benefit to people, and I am pleased we have been able to work together with our partners to make them happen.”
The work to build the new links will be funded by Highways England and carried out by Kent County Council.
Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said:
“I’m very grateful to the investment Highways England is making. Not only will the dual carriageway help reduce congestion but the new pedestrian and cycle route will provide a safe and healthy route, helping residents get between Tonbridge Station and Pembury Hospital.
“Kent County Council promotes active travel, aiming to make travel by foot or on a bicycle an attractive and realistic choice for short journeys. This work, including our own highways team constructing the link between the Longfield Road roundabout to Pembury Hospital, is sure to support that aim. I hope this will be a welcome option for the residents in the area.”
Artist impression of the new Blackhurst footbridge over the A21
Councillor Alan McDermott, Cabinet member with responsibility for Planning and Transportation said:
“The inclusion of these additional cycle links is excellent news and sees the borough council’s cycling strategy being put into action. These links are part of our proposed cycling network but also benefit pedestrians and I am pleased Highways England and KCC are able to go ahead with the works.”
The new footpath from the Longfield Road roundabout to Pembury Hospital will be constructed by Kent County Council in due course, expected to open following the A21 improvements.
Construction started on the A21 scheme in April 2015 and has already involved constructing new slip roads, ancient woodland translocation, removing a Grade II listed building which will be rebuilt in a museum, and a variety of measures for protected species. A video explaining the various environmental work undertaken can be viewed online:
By the end of the October 2016, Highways England will have used approximately 20,000 tonnes of surface, enough to fill eight Olympic-sized swimming pools, to create the new carriageway on the A21. Around 95% of the new road surface was using recycled materials, mainly the old surface from the A21 and M25. This helps to reduce the waste when carrying out resurfacing and also reduces the energy required to create the new material.
The upgraded road is expected to open to traffic next summer.