A21 widening 'could be even better value for money'

Widening a section of the A21 in Kent could be even better value for money, according to Kent County Council.

The RAC Foundation has already said the Highways Agency's £117m scheme would deliver the most value for money of all currently unfunded road projects.

But Kent County Council has now said it could dual the carriageway between Tonbridge and Pembury for £70m.

Government spending cuts have delayed the A21's widening until after 2015 in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Cheaper options

Bryan Sweetland, cabinet member for highways at Kent County Council, said: "We can do it - and we will do it - for £70m and those figures were verified by the Highways Agency.

"We're waiting now for the roads minister to come back to us."

Kent County Council said costs could be reduced by changes in procurement and reviewing the engineering standards.

In a report published on Monday, the RAC Foundation claimed there would be an £11 return on every £1 spent on widening the A21, making it the most value for money road scheme waiting to be started.

The A21 runs through Kent and East Sussex between Hastings and the M25.

David Aisher who runs a business on the North Farm Industrial Estate, which is near the A21's single lane section, said he was positive the project would eventually happen.

He added: "We get some tremendous snarl ups there, it's virtually impossible when the place gridlocks."

The Department for Transport said it would decide at the end of the year if the project - one of 18 major road schemes postponed in the Comprehensive Spending Review - would get the go ahead to begin work after 2015.

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