The Public Inquiry for the long awaited £150m upgrade to the A21 in Kent will begin in May.
Under the Highways Agency’s plans, a 2.5 mile section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury in Kent would be upgraded from single to dual carriageway, adding a lane in each direction, upgrading junctions and improving the road layout.
The major road scheme would make journeys on the A21 safer and more reliable and deliver a threefold return on investment for the UK economy.
The Public Inquiry is part of the statutory process for the project, where an independent Planning Inspector will consider the Highways Agency’s plans along with any objections and alternative plans and then make a recommendation on how to proceed to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Highways Agency project manager Graham Link said: “This Public Inquiry is an important step for the delivery of this much-need upgrade to the A21. All views will be considered, and I look forward to helping to present the Agency’s case for these improvements as part of the inquiry process.”
The independent Public Inquiry Inspector will hold a preliminary meeting on Monday 25 March, where she will lay out how the inquiry process will work and how people can engage with it.
In advance of the meeting the Highways Agency has published its latest plans for the scheme online.
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. Subject to funding and a successful outcome of the inquiry, construction could start as early as 2015.