Our Man - The future of our motorways

Apart from the obvious B-word issue, the big problem concerning those who contact me is the state of the M20, with three different sets of road works going on at once. The best short-term news on that front is that the works between Junction 9 and 10 are on schedule to finish in the next couple of months, and that they are designed to keep the motorway open if the Brexit process ends badly.

What this shows is how dependent we all are on the M20, and therefore how helpful it would be to all of us around Ashford if other routes were strengthened, particularly the M2/|A2. This would mean more lorry traffic using that route to reach Dover, which would ease pressure on the M20.

This is why I am so keen on the smooth progress of the Lower Thames Crossing. This new crossing will take more than 20% of the traffic away from the clogged Dartford Crossing, and drop it on the M2 further down into Kent. If all goes to plan, it will open in 2027, with construction starting in 2021.

The key for us in Ashford is that it makes much more likely the building of a duel carriageway all the way into Dover on the A2, which allows two routes through Kent for lorries.

Like others I have been concerned about the environmental impact, but this has now been mitigated, and the MPs most affected have now moved from outright opposition to suggesting improvements. At its peak the project will create 4,500 jobs in Kent and Essex so there are clear potential advantages for local people.

The consultation on the proposals runs until December 20th, so there is still time to have your say if you want. This is an important project for Kent, so your views will be important.