|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Repton Park (TR000436)|
|19th July 1957|
The A20 Ashford Bypass was one of the first bypasses in Kent, arriving before Canterbury, Maidstone and the Medway Towns.
It was a typical 1950s bypass with a wide grass central reservation in the middle. There were no junctions along its entire length aside from its two terminii. It started at a roundabout northwest of town near Repton Park and headed in a northeast line to pass underneath the A28. It then ran southeast past the sewage works to terminate on a roundabout near Willesborough at the other side of the town.
A bypass for Ashford had been planned in the late 1930s. However, after initial earthworks, progress slowed due to the war, and was halted completely in 1948. Despite repeated questions in parliament about the resuming of construction work, this was repeatedly delayed due to financial conditions throughout the early 1950s. Construction finally resumed in 1954 with planned completion in 1956; however it then stalled awaiting completion of the terminal junction, and was eventually opened on 19th July, 1957.
In 1980, the eastern section of the bypass was widened to motorway standard, and the terminal roundabout at Willesborough was removed, with roads being diverted slightly to the southeast to form present day M20 J10. To the west of the A28 bridge, the old bypass was rerouted onto a traffic light controlled junction with Canterbury Road, while the M20 took a new line to the northwest to J9, then a link road brought traffic round to the original terminal roundabout at Repton Park. This arrangement remained in place until the M20 was finally complete in 1991.
In 1983, the remaining western section was renamed Simone Weil Avenue after the French philosopher who died in the nearby Grovesnor Sanitorium. Although still primary, being A28 (in order to get traffic from M20 J9 onto Canterbury Road), it has been redesigned as a urban route, with a 40mph limit and several at grade turnings to modern retail parks and the Ashford International Hotel.