When the motorway tolls were introduced to the A22 in 2011, certain sections were left toll-free because the corresponding sections of the EN125 were not deemed adequate and it was stated that tolls would not be implemented until those parts of the EN125 were upgraded.
Inevitably, the cost of the tolls led to traffic moving from the A22 back onto the EN125 as the only viable cost-free alternative; the accident rates have increased on the EN125 and the road surface was degraded further so that sections which were in reasonable condition have worsened over the ensuing years.
Before the recent elections, it was stated that the A22 tolls would be reduced or abolished entirely but post-election and in typical political fashion, these promises have been shelved and price increases announced. It does suggest that money is put before safety and I wonder how quickly the motorway tolls would be removed if a prominent politician or a member of his or her family was killed on the EN125 …
There are now numerous road-works along the length of the EN125 with contraflows and temporary traffic lights which are causing severe delays. One of the issues with the temporary lights is that they appear overnight with no warning and no signage until approximately 100 metres before the contraflow, giving little opportunity to seek alternate routes. A free flowing section of road on one day could incur 15-20 minute delays the next.
As a result of the delays, there are frustrated drivers who take additional risks, overtaking when it is clearly not safe to do so, causing more accidents and giving rise to increased numbers of insurance claims and injuries, with a resultant increase in costs due to the loss of No Claims Discount and lost working hours whilst injured parties recover.
Surely, the time has come for the motorway tolls to be suspended at the very least until such time as the road-works on the EN125 are completed. This would give drivers access to a cost-free, free-flowing and safer road, and thus save time. Removing traffic from the EN125 would also allow the works to be completed more quickly and improve safety not only for drivers but also for the road-workers.