Update from Parish Councillor Catherine O’Meara on work on the M20 for Operation Brock.

Hollingbourne Parish Councillor Catherine O’Meara who lives on the Ashford Road in a property that backs on to M20 between Junctions 9 and 8 has been campaigning for a reduction in the surface noise from the M20. The following is her report of today to the  members of the Parish Council.

Catherine O’Meara writes:

I had a senior engineer from Highways out to my property last Wednesday to view that state of the Highways land bordering mine and my neighbours houses. He was also looking at the effect that running the traffic on the hard shoulder so close to our houses would have and I believe he agrees that a fence along a 300m stretch of the hard shoulder is the only way to protect us. He agreed that the maintenance of this land appeared to have been missed from their maintenance schedule hence the large accumulation of debris. The drainage also appears to have been neglected as the drainage ditch is full of debris which has led to the continual flooding of the Park Gate paddock. He has promised to look into the matter and update me before the end of the month.

The Operation Brock contractor Balfour Beatty phoned me yesterday to advise that the installation of the metal barriers is going well and they expect to be on the Hollingbourne part of the motorway perhaps by Sunday night but more probably Monday and Tuesday. There will be a large amount of noise as they have to drill into the concrete surface to install the barriers so these are the nights most likely to effect the Hollingbourne residents, both in the village and along the Ashford Road.

The surface skim (which should have resulted in a noise reduction) for the London Bound side of the M20 has now been postponed due to the operation Brock works but the coast bound side J8 to J9 is scheduled for the 11th March. I am obviously not happy that the J9 to J8 skim has been postponed and have made my feelings known.

Traffic has been running on the hard should J9 to J8 this week and as suspected this has had quite a detrimental impact on us residents on the Ashford Road whose properties back onto the M20, the noise, pollution, vibrations and lack of privacy have increased substantially. We all keep animals – horses, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats and they have also been caused undue distress. I have spoken to a reporter from a local paper this week and he has been along and interviewed two of my neighbours so hopefully with some publicity we might get some assistance with our plight.

Successive local MP’s since the opening of the M20 between Junction 8 and 9 in 1991 have all promised to resurface the motorway but nothing has happened to date. It was the last motorway to be built with a ribbed concrete surface.

Pictured below is the M20 looking towards Ashford from the Eyhorne Street bridge. Councillor O’Meara lives in a property on the right of the picture further up the motorway but is just out of sight.

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