The good and bad of road planning

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: Ray Norton, High Street, Hastings

I write to both praise and bemoan the Highways Agency.

Firstly the good news, despite the excessive but understandable delays, the dual carriageway A21 junction at Tunbridge Wells is an absolute pleasure to drive in either direction.

So far no hint of any backlog and proves that this scheme should have been done at the same time the rest of the Sevenoaks bypass was constructed.

I’m sure that over a period of time we’ll just get used to sailing by at 70mph.

It is difficult to gauge the huge amount of earth that has been displaced to smooth out the road contours, but it has opened up some new and interesting views across to the High Brooms area, and some beautiful sunsets!

However, the bad news, since work has been going on further up the road, the Pembury traffic lights appear to have been so severely re-phased as to make the former dual carriageway south somewhat of a carpark, especially on sunny Sundays and for the evening rush.

There seem to be no queues heading north or east/west, but up to four miles going south. I know the junction is tricky, being on a hump in the road, but surely some more creative solution other than each direction getting the same traffic green light time could be found.

There must be some more sophisticated traffic light solution that allows more than a handful of cars going south through, otherwise this will be renamed as the new “bottleneck”. Still don’t really know why the road was downgraded to a single carriageway, I’m sure that different traffic calming could have been investigated first, rather than waste the millions it probably took to make this into a dual carriageway.

At off peak times the southbound side is not a problem, but then again so is the appalling delays at the Bourne/Rock-a-Nore Junction, which will be made even worse should the proposed harbour scheme proceed.

We’ve been told it is only a problem at Bank Holiday weekends, but I beg to differ, I presume that as this is the main A259 this is also a Highways Agency issue.

It seems that common sense and road planning is not on the same page in the manual!