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Malden Rushett Dismay

June 26, 2014 4:00 PM

Malden Rushett junctionEpsom residents have been hoping for many years that the Malden Rushett road junction will be improved. For many of them it is on their most direct route to the A3 or the M25 and thence to the rest of the country.

However, joy at the long-awaited news that Transport for London (TfL) plan to start work in Rushett Lane on 22 September 2014 was marred by their announcement that this will involve closing Rushett Lane from 27 October 2014 until the end of the year and Fairoak Lane from 9 February 2015 until 20 March 2015.

The news came on Monday in the reply to a formal question from Cllr Colin Taylor at SCC's Local Committee for Epsom & Ewell, written by SCC Highways officers who had just learnt about these closures following their meeting with TfL the previous Thursday. The work is planned to continue until August 2015, but the later stages will not affect traffic flow. They added that details of diversion routes would be distributed when received from TfL.

Although the work on improving the junction at Malden Rushett is partly funded by the development of Noble Park, this junction lies within the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (RBK) and affects a trunk road, so this work is the responsibility of the Mayor of London, exercised through TfL.

Colin Taylor used to travel via this junction on his way to work. He points out that although alternative routes exist via Chessington or Ashtead, all routes into and out of Epsom are very heavily used during both morning and evening rush hours. The additional traffic diverted to alternative routes is bound to make travel a misery during the planned 16 weeks of closures, particularly the 10 week period commencing on 27 October.

Residents who have been made aware of TfL's plans are questioning whether the planners realise the impact on traffic of the planned closures. They point out that traffic is often backed in the morning from Horton Lane all the way to Malden Rushett and the alternative route via Chessington is also grid locked in the morning during school term times, beyond Ruxley Lane. This will have a major impact on all local residents and add at least 30 minutes even to a straight forward journey.

The Manor Park Association asks whether TfL have counted the number of cars using the Epsom to Malden Rushett route on a normal working day and what impact they think this work will have on local routes that are already grid locked. Their spokesperson is calling for an explanation of the logic of the decision and how it has been reached, including the other options considered and why they have been discounted. Wouldn't the work be better in the summer holidays, when road usage is far less due to school closures? Couldn't the work be done over weekends or completed at night?