Eco-minded pupils have used their design skills to help Highways England inform the public about changes to a green travel route.
In a bid to ease congestion, the roads agency is spending between £90m and £120m on turning a 6.5-mile stretch of the M20 between West Malling and Aylesford into an all-lane running smart motorway.
The work will include closing and replacing the Teapot Lane Footbridge at Aylesford so the hard shoulder can be upgraded.
To keep the local community informed about the footbridge’s closure and alternative walking routes, Highways England – in partnership with contractors Jacobs, Atkins and Kier ‑ invited children from nearby Aylesford School and Valley Invicta Primary to come up with potential designs for public information banners.
The two schools are Green Champions for the KM Charity Team’s Walk to School campaign, meaning they play an ambassadorial role selling the benefits of green travel to the wider community.
The three best banners will be placed at either end of the bridge, and the winning designs were by Aylesford School pupils Cally Dellaway and Poppy Leach Evans, who worked together, and Charlie Cable and Jude Juggins from Valley Invicta.
The selected artists also won tickets to Diggerland.
KM Charity Team chief executive Simon Dolby said: “I would like to congratulate all the children who came up with ideas for banners. The quality of their designs was absolutely first class.
“This work is precisely the kind of project students leading our walk to school and Green Champions initiatives should be taking on – going out of their way to encourage people in their communities to promote the green travel options.”
Highways England project manager Kampandila Kaluba said: “Working with the school and the wider community around the smart motorways scheme is something very important to Highways England.
“We are doing all this work for the benefit of the community, and the bridge replacement and the delivery of the whole project is all to accommodate the wellbeing of the students, the school and the community at large. So we are very, very grateful for their participation and interest.”
Aylesford School head teacher Tanya Kelvie said: “We are really pleased that our students have been able to take part in the bridge project, and they are also learning about engineering, which is really good with the Stem subjects.”
The following artists were highly commended: from Aylesford School ‑ Briony Woolmer, Alex Phipps, Keira Annan, Fern Layzell, Rebecca Ames, Devon Hewitt, Lola Cameron, Eden Newby, Reece Evans, Alice Knowles, Tabitha de Garns, Emily Underhill, Sally Smoker, Emily Webber, Hannah Crehan, Amy Wood; and from Valley Invicta ‑ Eloise Howarth, Ella Morgan-Clements, Ruby Austen, Poppy Pacifico, Charlie Hucker, Grace Lussier-Foy, Riley Shipper and Lucia Earl.
Highways England is also sponsoring Valley Invicta’s participation in the KM Charity Team’s green travel initiative Super Wow (Walk on Wednesday) from September.
Super Wow encourages families to walk to school, with classes competing each week to be awarded the Green Class of the Week Trophy. A monthly inter-school green travel challenge awards winning classes tickets to leisure attractions or visits by storytellers.