Cripple Street and Boughton Lane
Changes to these junctions will:
- improve the junction of the A229 Loose Road with Cripple Street and Boughton Lane
- widen the approaches to the junction from the south on the Loose Road with right turn filter lanes
- widen the exit for southbound traffic on the Loose Road to 2 lanes until the ambulance station
- create a new request pedestrian crossing across the A229 Loose Routh south of Cripple Street and north of Boughton Lane
Changes to the Loose Road corridor were consulted on as part of the Keep Maidstone Moving schemes, designed to reduce congestion, travel times and pollution in Maidstone.
The total cost of the A229 Loose Road corridor scheme is £5.63 million (excluding the purchase of the Wheatsheaf public house). The corridor scheme will be let as a single construction contract with the LGF contribution being £3.7 million and the developer contributions being £1.93 million.
The improvements are funded through the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package (MITP). The MITP is a wider package of highway schemes expected to cost £13.9 million in total, of which £8.9 million has been secured from the Local Growth Fund obtained from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.
The remaining costs will be funded by Section 106 Developer Contributions from nearby housing developments.
The Loose Road corridor has been identified as a transport priority for Maidstone in KCC’s Local Transport Plan 4. Maidstone’s Local Plan also identified the need for improvements to the Wheatsheaf junction, Boughton Lane junction and Loose Road.
The traffic problems were recognised in the examination of the Local Plan, with the Inspector recommending further investigation of potential transport improvements.
The entire urban area of Maidstone is covered by an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). These improvements are crucial to reducing congestion, improving journey times and reducing air pollution.
The decision by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Accountability Board to grant Local Growth Funding for the MITP was made on the 12 April 2019
On 19 January 2021, our Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee endorsed the recommendations to give authority to take the next phase of the A229 Loose Road corridor improvements through to construction.
The scheme objectives are to:
- reduce travel time along A229 corridor
- improve the reliability of journey times
- stop the deterioration of and improve air quality
- enable planned housing and employment growth
- reduce the use of unsuitable routes as rat-runs (cut-throughs).
This design was paused following the consultation process but a revised scheme to avoid any impact to the landscaped area in front of the shops has been developed.
Whilst this may deliver some minor improvements to the length of the right turn lane into Cripple Street, it is not expected to deliver any noticeable capacity benefits. Half-bus laybys have also been considered in the design, which will allow some vehicles to pass a stationary bus and whilst this may help with driver frustration, it will not provide any capacity benefits to the junction.
This alternative proposal is currently being costed and an estimate of utility diversions being sought to allow the cost and benefits to be properly considered. A further update on this proposal will be provided once costings are known.
The government Growth Deal provides money to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funding projects which drive Kent’s economic and business growth.