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Around 35,000 commuters are expected to benefit from a major upgrade to the A21 linking Hastings to London via Tonbridge and Pembury.
It is thought that the new dual carriage, which opened to motorists earlier on in the month, will hasten journey times, enhance road safety, lessen congestion and boost the local economy.
“This is another missing link in the country’s road network filled in,” said David Haimes, Regional Investment Programme Director at Highways England. “For decades, the single carriageway section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury has been a source of daily congestion, delaying drivers and frustrating business who depend on the road. That changes today.
“These A21 improvements are another great achievement for Highways England’s delivery of the first Road Investment Strategy, the biggest road investment for a generation. I hope the people of Kent enjoy driving on their new improved A21.”
As part of the project infrastructure specialist Balfour Beatty built two brand new junctions, improving accessibility to the A21 for neighbouring residents while introducing dedicated facilities for pedestrian, equestrian and cyclist use.
Crucially, the A21 spans an Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty, which required Balfour Beatty to adhere to the strictest environmental standards possible. Twice the amount of woodland was translocated rather than removed, with pioneering techniques employed to preserve the prevailing ecological make up.
Over the course of the upgrade Balfour Beatty also created 11 graduate placements alongside five apprenticeships and six work experience placements, bringing economic benefit to the surrounding community.
George Pargeter, Balfour Beatty’s Project Director on the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury Project, had this to say: “We are delighted to announce the completion of the A21 project, enabling the local community and travelling public to enjoy the benefits of the new dual carriageway.
“This has been a complex project which presented a number of challenges, however our expertise and collaboration with Highways England has enabled us to successfully and safely deliver a high quality, more streamlined route connecting Hastings and London.”
In recent months road-goers have experienced a phased opening, which kicked-off with the partial unveiling of a brand new flyover on Longfield Road last July. But with the A21 now fully open, motorists are finally able to take full advantage of faster, safer road network.
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