Proposals to build a new junction on the M20 at Ashford in Kent have moved a step closer to becoming reality after plans for the scheme were accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, with the project now moving to the consultation stage.
The new junction 10a is set to be built just 700 metres east of the existing junction 10 and is intended to ease the strain on the current infrastructure, as well as better service major new developments in the area.
It will include two new bridges over the motorway, a roundabout and a new section of dual carriageway that will link the junction with the A2070 near Sevington.
The £30 million cost of the scheme will be jointly met by Highways England and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership. Remaining contributions will be funded by developers.
MP for Ashford Damian Green welcomed the progress, noting that the project is one of “national importance” that will enhance both the M20 and the future prosperity of Ashford.
“The benefits of this will be to improve local infrastructure, ease the pressure on the existing junction 10 and unlock the opportunities for future job creation,” he said. “Ashford is all about improving local services, supporting businesses and helping maintain a high quality of life for everyone.”
Chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Jo James also welcomed the news. She said: “So much economic activity has been locked up while we waited for this project to come forward and with this announcement the brakes will finally come off these investments.”
As the main motorway links much of the UK with the ferry and Channel Tunnel terminals that connect the country to continental Europe, the M20 is a vital part of the country’s infrastructure.
The new development is not the only scheme intended to ease the pressure on the route, as plans are currently being drawn up to build a £250 million lorry park in the region. This is intended to eliminate the need for Operation Stack – which sees the M20 closed and turned into a holding area for HGVs waiting to cross the channel whenever disruption such as industrial action or weather affects these services.