Improvement works to Junction 8 of the M25 are expected to start next spring, as design continues on a project to reduce congestion and improve safety.
One of the aims is to deal with the gridlock caused when traffic queuing on Reigate Hill backs up onto the roundabout.
Highways England is considering running two lanes southbound down Reigate Hill, merging after the bend: the extra lane would increase the traffic that can queue on the hill, easing pressure on the roundabout.
To make space, one of the two northbound lanes may start slightly further up the hill than presently.
Improvements on the roundabout itself will include wider lanes to help HGVs, upgraded traffic lights, and an increase to three lanes on the roundabout’s northern side.
Highways England will pay for the project, but some local councillors are worried about the scheme.
Concerns include how the Reigate Hill layout and the junction with Gatton Bottom and Wray Lane will operate, and how local traffic patterns might be affected given the bottleneck of the level crossing.
The matter came up at last week’s Local Committee for Reigate & Banstead (a Surrey County Council meeting, attended by both county and borough councillors).
Among those flagging the topic, County Cllr Zully Grant-Duff (who represents Reigate) said that the scheme’s impact on local traffic had been raised with Highways England:
“At the time we expressed concerns, it was made clear to us it’s up to Surrey County Council to deal with such impact.”
“My concern is funding, frankly.”
“I cannot see that we [Surrey] are preparing ourselves, [nor] that we are allocating funding to cope with the impact of what they’re proposing to do on our local network.”
County Cllr Bob Gardner queried value for money, saying Highways England were looking to spend “to the tune of” £4 million. He added:
“It does appear that we get it whether we like it or not – there’s no negotiation – it’s a foregone conclusion.”
County Cllr Jeff Harris, committee chair, agreed to write to Highways England with the concerns.
“Designed to reduce congestion”
Asked about the Junction 8 plans, a Highways England spokesperson told reigate.uk:
“The scheme is designed to reduce congestion, and improve safety at the junction, with minor changes to the traffic flow.
Highways England have consulted with Surrey County Council throughout the duration of the project”
The spokesperson also said:
“Changes to the road layout on the hill are aimed at improving congestion and safety.
As with any scheme of this nature, there will be impacts during the construction of the works, but Highway England will endeavour to reduce these to a minimum.”
And on timing:
“The scheme is currently progressing through detailed design with design completion expected towards the end of 2018.
Construction of the scheme is expected to begin in Spring 2019 with a construction period of approximately 9 months.
These dates remain subject to change – particularly around availability of road space to construct.”