Old junc­tion was bet­ter in so many ways

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

READ­ERS are fa­mil­iar with our reg­u­lar re­ports on sub­jects that cause ir­ri­ta­tion to res­i­dents such as the dis­rup­tion caused by the shared space, the re­place­ment of the New­town Road Bridge, and the re­moval of the round­about out­side the In­ter­na­tional Sta­tion. But one sub­ject that brought floods of com­plaints was the widen­ing and up­grade of Junc­tion 10 in­clud­ing the re­place­ment of traf­fic sig­nals. Many at­tempted to con­vince road chiefs to aban­don the lights al­to­gether, as while the works were be­ing un­der­taken the lights were out of use and, amaz­ingly, the traf­fic hotspot flowed bet­ter that usual. Driv­ers who have reg­u­larly ex­pe­ri­enced grid­lock at the in­ter­change failed to win their case to have the lights re­moved. In­stead, the high­way au­thor­ity be­gan to re­place all the sen­sor-type traf­fic lights around town all at once with those work­ing on timers, caus­ing fur­ther de­lays, and seemed to show no in­ter­est in tak­ing the com­plaints on board.

Splen­did

This week we look back at the area in 1976, in the years prior to the com­ple­tion of the M20 and the need for such a junc­tion. Be­fore the mo­tor­way, the for­mer A20 Ash­ford By­pass – opened in July 1957 – ter­mi­nated here, but things looked very dif­fer­ent com­pared with to­day, and are cap­tured in this re­cently ac­quired pic­ture. This splen­did view shows the area 33 years ago, prior to the de­mo­li­tion of the houses at the top of Hythe Road and Lac­ton Way, on the right, for the cur­rent M20. The in­tro­duc­tion of the by­pass had changed this area con­sid­er­ably, and The Street – on the left of the pic­ture – had been sev­ered, leav­ing it more or less a slip road, as pic­tured here. The junc­tion of Ken­ning­ton Road can be seen fur­ther along on the left. The du­alling of the A20 ended at the rear of Crooks­foot, where the re­main­der of the road con­tin­ued in its trun­cated sec­tion to New­ingreen, as it does to­day. Many lo­cals still speak of pick­ing straw­ber­ries at Court Lodge Farm, just be­hind the houses fur­thest away, which dis­ap­peared when the mo­tor­way carved its way through. Maybe things would have been eas­ier if this route in the il­lus­trated for­mat ex­isted to­day. Free flow traf­fic with no traf­fic lights in sight! The sit­u­a­tion might im­prove, if the lights were set up prop­erly in the first place, and pres­sure sen­sors in the road were re­con­nected to al­low the town’s traf­fic to run freely again. To­day we spend more time wait­ing in traf­fic around the town than we do en­joy­ing it.

The A20 Ash­ford by­pass at Willes­bor­ough in the days be­fore the ad­vent of the M20 and the no­to­ri­ous Junc­tion 10

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