A229 Blue Bell Hill
The A229 Blue Bell Hill stretches between Junction 6 of the M20 in Maidstone and Junction 3 of the M2 at Blue Bell Hill village. This section of road is a key strategic link between the M20 and M2, and between Maidstone and Medway.
Improvements are needed to increase journey time reliability, reduce delays and enhance road safety on the route.
This scheme is still in an early phase of design and further modelling and assessment work will be done to finalise a design that meets the scheme objectives.
In September 2020 there was an early engagement consultation to ask for feedback on 3 possible options. From the consultation and further development work, options 1 and 2 have been taken forward for further investigation and option 3 was dropped from the proposals. The consultation brochure and report can be viewed in the scheme documents section.
|Location||Option 1||Option 2|
|Improvements to the Lord Lees Roundabout A229 southbound slip road, at the northern end of Blue Bell Hill.||Included||Included|
|A new slip road at the northern end of Blue Bell Hill, onto the M2 westbound from the A229 immediately after Lord Lees Roundabout.||Included||Included|
|A new separate left turn lane from the M2 westbound to the A229 at Taddington Roundabout, northern end of Blue Bell Hill.||Included||Included|
|Enlarge the Running Horse Roundabout to the west, at the southern end of Blue Bell Hill.||Included||Included|
|Improve the slip road onto the M20 eastbound from Cobtree Roundabout, at the southern end of Blue Bell Hill.||Included||Included|
|Widen the A229 to 3 lanes when travelling southbound towards Maidstone (between Lord Lees and Cobtree Roundabouts).||Included||Included|
|Increase the road width at the northern end of Blue Bell Hill, between Taddington and Lord Lees Roundabouts to 4 lanes.||Included||Not included|
|Upgrade of the current signalled junction at Taddington Roundabout, at the northern end of Blue Bell Hill, allowing traffic travelling from the M2 eastbound to A229 via a new bridge over the M2||Included||Not included|
|A new slip road from the M2 eastbound to a new junction arrangement at Bridgewood Roundabout, northern end of Blue Bell Hill.||Not included||Included|
This scheme is currently estimated to cost up to £199 million. We have put in a bid to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Major Road Network funding programme for ‘Large Local Major Schemes.’ If successful, this will cover 85% of the costs of the scheme. The remaining 15% will be from developer contributions and other government funding opportunities.
This scheme is needed to tackle high levels of congestion, concerns regarding road safety, poor air quality and to support local growth and additional traffic from the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC).
The overall aim of the scheme is to improve journey time reliability and road safety. This will allow the road to accommodate an increase in future traffic, expected as a result of the Lower Thames Crossing and proposed local developments, while providing suitable routes and facilities for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.
The objectives of this scheme are to:
- improve journey time reliability at the M2 Junction 3 and M20 Junction 6 interchanges of the A229
- reduce congestion along the route
- enable the local area to develop in accordance with population and housing growth predicated under Local Plans
- reduce the impact of additional traffic from the Lower Thames Crossing and allow the Lower Thames Crossing to maximise potential benefits it can provide for the Kent area
- improve road safety and address known accident hotspots
- make best use of existing assets including land and highways
- provide suitable routes and facilities for public transport
- provide safe and improved routes for pedestrians and cyclists
- improve air quality, particularly in the Air Quality Management Area
- protect and enhance the local environment.
We have submitted the final documents for the Strategic Outline Business Case requested by the Department for Transport. We hope to get a response about if the business case is approved and whether we can move forward with the next stage of the scheme by summer 2023.
The scheme is still in an early phase. Further detailed design work will be required before construction could begin, including:
- more detailed development of the options to establish a preferred scheme
- refining and developing the design of the chosen option
- development of environmental mitigation plans
- further engagement with the community and other stakeholders
- agreement of funding
- planning and other statutory consent
- development of construction plans to manage both the timing of works and impacts on traffic during construction of the scheme.
The forecasted timescales for this junction improvement scheme, should our business case submission be successful, are:
- acceptance of Strategic Outline Business Case - summer 2023
- submission of the next stage of the business case to the DfT including details of the preferred scheme - spring 2025
- planning permission and consents - spring 2025 to autumn 2026
- further detailed design - spring 2025 to spring 2027
- submission of full business case to the DfT - spring 2027
- construction to begin - summer 2027
- completion of scheme - summer 2029 (aim to be completed before the Lower Thames Crossing opens to traffic).
The government Growth Deal provides money to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funding projects which drive Kent’s economic and business growth.