New M20 junction will now cost £56m
Cost of new M20 junction soars by £11million as council wins fight to keep capacity
THE cost of building a new motorway junction on the M20 to ease congestion around Ashford has soared by £11million, it has emerged.
The Highways Agency says constructing a new Junction 10a on the M20, south of the existing Junction 10, is now expected to cost £56 million, an increase from the £45 million first estimated.
But a suggestion that costs could be kept down by restricting capacity at the new junction, effectively limiting the amount of traffic it could take, has been successfully resisted by Ashford council chiefs.
Council leader Paul Clokie (Con) said the proposal had been firmly rejected and the extra costs would be absorbed by English Partnerships, a quango overseeing the scheme.
“The Highways Agency wanted to limit the junction’s capacity to traffic levels expected by 2021, rather than 2031.
“That would have been a nonsense,” he said.
The new junction, providing a link road to the A2070, is seen as critical if the town and surrounding area are to avoid becoming gridlocked.
Its development followed concerns that the existing Junction 10 would be unable to cope with the massive house-building expansion of the area under the Government’s growth plan.
Consultation on the scheme is due to get underway this summer, with building work earmarked to begin about 2010.
In a statement, a spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “The proposals for J10a have recently been developed to narrow down the options to more closely reflect the aspirations of Ashford’s Future.
“The current estimated cost more closely reflects the updated design.”
Cllr Paul Clokie: ‘Reduced capacity is a nonsense’