The £69.7m scheme, part of a record investment by the Government in road improvements of £24bn by 2021, will be constructed by Balfour Beatty. Advance work is expected to start this autumn with main construction starting in spring 2015.
A 2.5 mile section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury in Kent will be upgraded from single to dual carriageway, adding a lane in each direction, upgrading junctions and improving the road layout. The major road scheme will make journeys on the A21 safer and more reliable and deliver a fivefold return on investment for the UK economy.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:
Additional capacity on roads is vital for the four million drivers that use our motorways and major trunk roads each day. This will boost the local economy and is part of the Government’s biggest programme of road enhancements since the 1970s.
Highways Project Manager Graham Link said:
This scheme will improve journeys on the A21 by reducing congestion and improving safety for the 35,200 drivers that use this section each day. The A21 is a vital link between London and Hastings as well as connecting local towns. Providing better infrastructure will help the local and national economy, helping to support businesses and creating jobs.
Balfour Beatty Stephen Tarr, Balfour Beatty Managing Director for Major Projects, said:
We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to upgrade the A21. Balfour Beatty has a strong track record of delivering major road schemes both nationally and in the region on time and to budget. Our commitment to building sustainably, engaging with local stakeholders, and employing a local supply chain is key to our success and we aim to leave a lasting legacy as a thoughtful contractor behind us.
Today’s announcement follows successful completion of all the statutory planning procedures, which means that no further legal objections can be made.
The A21 upgrade is one of six major road schemes that the Highways Agency is developing for delivery after 2015 and is in addition to the 24 major road projects on England’s motorways and major A roads being delivered between 2010 and 2015.
Evidence given at the public enquiry last year showed that journey times will be improved along this section by up to 65% in 2017 and the number of collisions reduced by 60%.
A video showing the improvements is available on YouTube.
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