A2 slip road plan is a complicated and dangerous mess

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Vehicles will be coming off the coastbound A2, right hand side, and on to a new slip road into Canterbury

The image below shows the plan for the brand new fourth slip road at Wincheap and the revised park and ride.

It’s a bit complicated so trace the red arrows to see how it works.

It shows a shorter than standard slip road off the A2 going into a hairpin bend then magically merging with traffic going to the Park and Ride. 

But if you think that’s dangerous keep following the red arrows. These show how traffic will get on the A28 towards Ashford and the new housing estate at Thanington.

Having negotiated a hairpin, cars and lorries will do a 360 degree turn outside the B&M superstore and negotiate shopping traffic on a retail estate. 

They will then effectively block the exit from Morrisons when they queue to turn right on to the A28 for Ashford.

It gets worse. If cars and lorries want to get to the new housing in Thanington – and it will be lorries as there will be businesses there as well as housing – then they do a sharp left turn at the lights on the bridge over the A2. 

Then they go the “wrong” way down a slip road that will become two way.  But don’t worry. There will be a set of traffic lights half way down it where they do a sharp right into the new development.

This is the latest in highway design: a hairpin bend, a 360 degree turn, two sharp rights and an acute left turn on a major road bridge.

Frankly, I could scarcely believe it when these plans were put to the Canterbury City Council’s planning committee. I was even more amazed when the Committee calmly nodded them through. I was a lone voice voting against.

The Wincheap Society has flagged up how dangerous this is by serving a Breach of Duty of Care notice on the relevant authorities but the city council, Kent County Council and Highways England all seem to think it’s perfectly all right. 

Remember how Kensington and Chelsea Council thought the cladding on Grenfell Towers was perfectly all right until, tragically, it caught fire? What if a lorry overturns on the hairpin or the roundabout, or the left turn into the two way slip road?

At present a lot of people are getting worked up about the new park and ride. Fine. But please take a critical look at this scheme and tell me if this is safe and sensible design.

Happy? I’m afraid I’m not.

6 COMMENTS

  1. That all looks very scary indeed

    In particular given how short the slip road is the prospect of cars and vans leaving tha A2 at 60 mph slamming into the back of a lorry navigating the hairpin at say 15 mph seems very real

    Tail backs onto the A2 seem inevitable creating further dangers.

  2. To read the Notification of Breach of Duty of Care and find out what happened afterwards, and to understand how and why Canterbury City Council comprised its decision-making over access to “Thanington Park”, and to read the Wincheap Society’s report on the dangers of the “Bellmouth junction” that Rosie Duffield’s office sent to the Ministry for Transport on our behalf last December, go to wincheapcampaigns.wordpress.com. There’s also some Light Relief postings, in case you get too depressed reading all the other stuff.

  3. I must admit that my normal reaction to planning stories is ‘oh, don’t make such a fuss’, but in this instance I think it is well deserved. I’m not going to lose sleep over an HGV overturning, etc, that can happen anywhere. But this does seem to be an additional embuggerance at an already over-complicated, congested and troublesome set of junctions. Already exiting the A2 London bound here to turn right onto Wincheap can be problematic if the timing of the lights and heavy traffic is against you, as is the squeeze into one lane from two when heading out to Ashford on the A28 as motorists discover that the second lane now filters onto the northbound A2.

    I can see only two solutions here, and they are both ruinously expensive; firstly an elevated roundabout similar to the one at Sevington for the M20/A2070, but this would mean demolishing quite a few houses and businesses. Secondly making Wincheap one way outbound from Canterbury, and Simmons Road one way inbound to Canterbury and probably a bit wider, rejoining Rheims Way where Aldi currently is. Of course this would mean demolishing Aldi, mucking about under Network Rail’s nice train track, mortally annoying most of the businesses in Wincheap estate, and making life a living hell for most of the residents of St Andrew’s Close and Bingley Court. If only a proper job had been done when the A2 was built in the first place.

  4. Alex
    Thanks for your post. I do worry about an HGV overturning if it squashes someone!
    Putting a new road through the Wincheap Estate, under the railway past Aldi was always the original long term plan
    The 4th slip road could come off the A2 slightly earlier, run straight through the present allotments, and join the roundabout at B&M in a more or less direct line.
    This would mean the existing Park and Ride site would remain virtually intact and it could be expanded by putting another deck or two on top.
    There are plans afoot to make Wincheap one way Ashford bound. There is much more…..!

  5. What an absolute mess! As others have pointed out traffic will back up on to the 70mph A2, a really good idea when visibility is poor for example, at night, rain, fog etc
    Slip roads are supposed to be de-acceleration lanes and not the inside lane of the duel carriageway!
    Road design and layout must be at an all time low with poor designs and any road ‘improvements’ are already out of date by the time they are completed!
    New roads are so narrow, that roundabouts, junctions can only handle the smallest of vehicles.
    How they expect large trucks to turn left out of the Wincheap Ind. Estate by the Maidens Head and not intrude into on-coming traffic coming from under the railway bridge is beyond belief, what sort of bottle-neck is that going to be?
    I worked at the old Brett’s yard (where Morrisons is today) when they built the A2 and was dumb-founded then, that there was to be no on/off slip roads in both directions.
    But the A2 from Brenley Corner is still not ‘finished’ as it goes down to one lane as you get closer to Dover; absolutely useless!
    Building for the future, is more like building for the past!

  6. This ridiculous highway design was done by the developer of Thanington Park in a way that saved the cost of a normal length of slip because the developer is paying for it.

    The development to the west of Aldi was not done to co-ordinate properly with the reduced levels required for a road under the railway and yet CCC approved it.

    In just the last few years Planning Consents were given by CCC for housing on the SE side of Ashford Road, effectively blocking a sensible access to the Thanington Patk development which has led to the unsafe contra- flow route mentioned earlier.

    We seem to have no joined up Town Planning function at CCC and yet we pay for staff who should fulfill that role.

    Equally KCC and Highways England have for the last 70 years approached their task of road building in an incremental manner. Consent was given by CCC without input from KCC for the Mountfield and Pilgrims Place ( Littlebourne Road )sites without the safeguarding of a route for a Canterbury Eastern outer ring route. For years CCC said such an idea was not viable and then last year said it was.

    We know that CCC PR officers read the Canterbury Journal but they never reply to criticism.

    How do we get a better system?

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