Work to improve Junction 8 of the M25 at the top of Reigate Hill will now not start until January 2020 and possibly later.
The project includes upgraded signals and layout changes on the junction, as well as the creation of two lanes down Reigate Hill as far as Wray Lane with a slip road heading off towards Merstham.
Details about how the work will be carried out haven’t been published, although a traffic order earlier this year granted power for some night closures as well as daytime speed restrictions for roadworks.
The project is scheduled to finish in December 2020.
Highways England says on an updated project page: “The detailed design for the work at junction 8 has now been completed.
“The highway works fall under both Highways England and Surrey County Council authorities, so we are now engaged in detailed planning activity with Surrey County Council to ensure the scheme minimises disruption to all road users.
“Highways England are also negotiating the contract value for the works with their nominated contractor.
“Until these matters are agreed there is potential for the start date to be delayed.”
County councillors have continued to meet with Highways England to discuss the project.
Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, has been liaising with the councillors, and wrote to Highways England earlier this month calling for another meeting to discuss concerns before the scheme is finalised.
Worries are about what the completed scheme’s pros and cons will be, including any knock-on impact on local roads. Councillors and the MP also want to know more about when and how the work will be carried out, such as the routing of work lorries.
Councillors are due to have another meeting with Highways England in early October.
The aim of the project is to reduce congestion at the junction, which was built in 1986. The Highways England page says: “The signal-controlled junction is now operating above its design capacity which leads to traffic queues during peak hours, especially on the A217 and M25 eastbound off-slip.”
Features of the project will include:
- “upgrading the traffic signal installation throughout the junction”
- “adding an extra lane on the A217 northbound approach”
- “widening into the existing verge and extending the anti-clockwise exit slip road”
- “adding an extra lane on the north circulatory section of the roundabout”
- “widening lanes on the east and west bridge section of the roundabout”
- “improving road signs and markings”
- “widening and realignment on the A217 southbound to two lanes that merge prior to Wray Lane”
(The last item – the proposed two southbound lanes until Wray Lane (plus a slip road to Merstham) – replaces an earlier idea to continue the two lanes until further down Reigate Hill. That plan would have meant one of the two northbound lanes starting further up the hill, to make space.)
The anticipated start date for the work has changed several times in recent years, with this November apparently in the frame until recently.
County councillors expressed concerns to Highways England about the impact that timing would have had on Reigate’s Christmas trade.
The cost of the project remains “TBC” on the Highways England project page.
Update 20 Sep 2019
A Highways England spokesperson has said: “Junction 8 is one of the busiest junctions on the M25, it serves thousands of people each day and this can often lead to the build-up of long queues during peak times.
“The improvement scheme, which will begin construction early next year, aims to ease congestion at the junction to allow for the better management of traffic on the M25.
“We’re continuing construction discussions with Surrey County Council as to the nature of the traffic management and closures that will be needed, with a strong emphasis on how we can best minimise disruption and exploit opportunities to shorten the overall duration of the works programme.”