Highways England “to consider” a quiet skim for the M20 at Hollingbourne – at last!

Hollingbourne Parish Council has today learnt that Highways England is considering the installation of a “quiet skim” surface on the London bound carriageway of the M20 as it runs through Hollingbourne. The M20 between Hollingbourne to Ashford was the last motorway to be built with a ribbed concrete surface and since it opened in 1991 successive local Members of Parliament have pledged to resurface it with a quieter tarmac surface but nothing has happened and in 2006 the then then Government listed it as a motorway to be resurfaced. Nothing happened and representatives from Hollingbourne and Harrietsham Parish Councils met with the Highways Agency in London to complain and nothing happened.

This has been an ongoing issue for many years and Leeds Castle arranged for a bund to be built using spoil from the Channel Tunnel in order to reduce the noise to visitors and to make it more attractive to TV and film companies who had objected to the background noise from the motorway which can vary according to the weather and wind direction.

The Parish Council has been advised by Catherine O’Meara who lives on the Ashford Road and who has been battling on the cause since the Highways Agency started working overnight in October and November with preparations for Operation Brock. This is so the London bound carriageway can be used as a contraflow while the coast bound side will be used for storing 2000 lorries awaiting Customs if the UK leaves the EU Customs Union on 29th March 2019. Kent County Council expect that there will be a requirement to store 10,000 lorries for about 24 hours at any one time and the M26 and the former Manston Airport will also be used.

During October and November Highways Agency contractors kept local residents awake while they strengthened the hard shoulder in order to take London bound traffic. Ms O’Meara took up the cudgels and wrote to our local MP, the Highways Agency, the Ministry of Transport and many others and she has now been told that the London bound side will receive a “quiet skim” as early as February. No mention has been made of the coastbound side which will be used for parking or if facilities for drivers will be installed such as loos and a water supply. The Highways Agency have asked Ms O’Meara for permission to install noise monitoring equipment in her garden.

More M20 roadworks and overnight lane closures between Junction 8 in Hollingbourne and Junction 9 in Ashford are forecast for January according to the Highways Agency.

Pictured below is the M20 looking towards Ashford with the section to be resurfaced on the right.

The M20 looking towards Dover and Eurotunnel with the proposed lorry storage area on the left. Behind the trees on the left is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1).