|Length:||18.6 mi (29.9 km)|
| M2 motorway
The A249 is a road in Kent, England, running from Maidstone to Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey. It mainly functions as a link between the M2 and M20 motorways, and for goods vehicle traffic to the port at Sheerness.
In 2006 an upgraded dual carriageway section opened between Iwade and Queenborough, including a new fixed crossing over the Swale. The existing lifting Kingsferry Bridge has been retained as an alternative route. On 5 September 2013 more than 100 vehicles were involved in an accident on the crossing.
||This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (September 2012)|
The A249 begins close to Maidstone town centre where it commences by heading eastwards from the southbound A229 Lower Stone Street along first Mote Road and then Wat Tyler Way. Due to the vagaries of Maidstone's one-way system, the westbound carriageway (which was southbound before reaching Maidstone town centre), actually extends alone for a short way along Knightrider Street before it then ends as it meets the northbound carriageway of the A229. At the top of Wat Tyler Way where that road meets King Street, the A249 occupies a small gyratory system which sees the A20 reappearing heading east after a short gap due to the closure of Maidstone High Street to traffic.
From here, the A249 begins its journey north on Albion Place. This very quickly becomes the Sittingbourne Road, a long established route between the two old market towns. After passing Vinters Park and reaching the north end of the town at the Chiltern Hundreds roundabout (named after the adjacent pub), this traditional route is broken as the old Sittingbourne Road has here become a Park and Ride facility.
This break occurred during the 1990s as the result of works to widen and upgrade the former A20(M) Maidstone Bypass section of the M20 to remove a bottleneck on the newly completed motorway. Instead of following its old course, the route turns east onto the Bearsted Road towards Grove Green, becoming a dual carriageway before turning north again just before Newnham Court Farm. Here, the route crosses the M20, rejoining the Sittingbourne Road at the exit of the motorway roundabout. From this point onwards, the route becomes Primary.
The road now climbs up onto the Downs via Detling Hill, past the village of Detling and crossing part of the Pilgrim's Way as it does so. Just after the junction where it meets Pilgrim's Way is a footbridge called Jade's Crossing, named after the schoolgirl who died along with her grandmother in a road accident in 2000 whilst attempting to cross the busy road prior to the installation of the bridge. Immediately after the footbridge, the carriageways diverge, with the northbound carriageway taking a higher route up the hill and the southbound carriageway taking a separate lower route where it negotiates a notorious chicane at the bottom of the steep hill.
Cresting the hill, the road becomes known as the Maidstone road and passes the Kent County Showground to the north and White Horse Wood to the south. Further on the road passes a large layby on the northbound carriageway that was closed in 2005 after local residents complained that it was a haunt of doggers. The road carries on past the village of Stockbury, uninterrupted until it meets a junction coming off the M2.
From here the route used to carry on as a single carriageway road towards Sheppey on the old Maidstone Road, however a new dualled Maidstone Road running parallel but slightly west was completed in the mid nineties and this is the route that the A249 follows now under the M2 viaduct. The next junction comes at Key Street, where it meets the A2 and traffic for Newington and Rainham to the west and Sittingbourne to the east join/leave.
From here the route continues across the flat plains of Swale past Kemsley and Iwade, the last villages on the mainland before the Isle of Sheppey. As it approaches Swale railway station on the southern banks of the Swale, the road becomes the Sheppey Way which now bridges the Swale via the Sheppey Crossing, opened in 2006, having previously used the Kingsferry Bridge which has to be lifted to allow ships to pass on the Swale. Non-motorised traffic still uses the old route and rejoins the A249 on the island.
Once on the island, traffic follows a new dual carriageway built in conjunction with the new bridge as far as Queenborough. Here it returns to its old single carriageway route along Brielle way into Sheerness, past Blue Town before finally turning into Bridge Road and ending at a roundabout near the seaport. Here the road becomes the A250.
- "Dozens hurt as 100 cars crash on A249 Sheppey crossing". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Road safety kits from Jade Appeal". BBC News. 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- Lee Winter - Tuesday, 2 August 2005 (2005-08-02). "Notorious 'dogging' layby is finally closed". Kentonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- Bolton, Nicola (2006-07-03). "Long-awaited Sheppey Crossing opens to traffic". Kentonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to A249 road.|
- SABRE Roaders Digest - A249
- Highways Agency - Iwade-Queenborough improvements
- Highways Agency - Iwade-Queenborough improvements (photos)