A21 New Year closure is postponed following complaints about timing

Uncertainty over A21 repairs as potholes cause major problems
The A21 viaduct

THE planned closure of the A21 early in the New Year, which threatened to cause chaos through the town centre, has been postponed.

The seven-mile stretch of the dual carriageway between the north and south Tonbridge exits was due to be shut for four days from January 8-13, with all traffic diverted through the town.

But the scheduled works by Highways England have been ‘deferred’ due to ‘supply chain issues’; no new date has been put forward.

The four-day closure was to carry out maintenance work on the Medway Viaduct above Haysden and the Manor Farm subway near Leigh.

A year ago, issues were identified with the structure of the flyover, which had been causing large potholes to appear on the bypass’s road surface.

During repair work, southbound traffic would have been diverted at the Sevenoaks Weald exit and sent along the B245 through Hildenborough on to the A227.

Vehicles would then have turned left at the top of the High Street on to Bordyke and Hadlow Road, joining Cannon Lane and going through the industrial estate to where it turns off at Vale Road, to rejoin the bypass at the Vauxhall roundabout. Northbound travellers would have followed the same route in reverse.

The move was criticised by local MP Tom Tugendhat, who called for a postponement and said: “I am disappointed that the works are taking place at such short notice, especially during school term time.”

Business leaders in the town also feared the impact on retailers at a time when they were hoping to attract customers to the sales.

The Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Nicolas Heslop, had also raised objections about the lack of notice given for carrying out the repairs.

He told the Times that he had not been told about the deferral and said: “The planned works would have had a massive impact on communities in Hildenborough and Tonbridge.

“The lead time for residents and businesses has been too short. I have said this was not good enough and I am pleased they listened to me.”

He added: “Now I will be inviting Highways England officials to the next meeting of the Tonbridge Forum, to explain when they intend to carry out the works, the timetable for the works, and for them to give plenty of time for us all to plan for the evitable impact on our local communities.”

Mr Tugendhat and Cllr Heslop succeeded in postponing 10 weeks of roadworks in the town centre from September for the replacement of a gas main by SGN.

On that occasion they also complained about the lack of prior warning, the effect on the school run and the threat to businesses in the run-up to the festive season.

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