Published: 05:00, 23 January 2022
Traffic in part of a Kent city will be “absolute bedlam” when a key route is transformed into a one-way system later this year, critics claim.
The busy A28 in Wincheap, driven along by thousands each day, is to be used solely by cars heading out of the city, and buses coming the other way.
The major transformation will see motorists travelling towards Canterbury from the Ashford direction diverted through the Wincheap Industrial Estate along Simmonds Road, which will become a two-lane carriageway.
Transport chiefs are confident the controversial scheme will solve the area’s rush-hour congestion woes, but many people are opposed to the plan.
Cllr Nick Eden-Green, who represents the ward, says the project is “utterly daft”.
“We’ve got a scheme which is really not fit for purpose,” he said.
“Frankly, it would be better to do nothing than to do this project, which is going to cost as much as £3 million.
“It’s a complete waste of money.
“We’ve wanted a relief road for years, but this isn’t it. It doesn’t bypass Wincheap.
“The narrowest part of Wincheap is where it’s residential on either side, and that is between Ten Perch Road for Morrisons and Cow Lane. That stretch won’t be bypassed at all.
“The traffic there is already bad now, but it will be absolute bedlam.”
Referred to as a “gyratory” system, the new layout is hoped to improve traffic flow, boost bus priority measures and remove snarled-up congestion at Wincheap roundabout.
Work rejigging the A28 and the neighbouring industrial estate is expected to begin in the summer.
Those wanting to visit the estate and its many businesses will only be able to access it via Cow Lane and exit at the junction near the Maiden’s Head pub.
Cllr Eden-Green, who was speaking to city residents at a virtual Canterbury Forum meeting, says the proposed layout will pose a danger due to the series of sharp turns within 500 metres.
“The A28 is the main trunk road, and to have three right angle turns on it does seem utterly daft,” he said.
“Each time a vehicle has to brake to make that turn, it brakes and then accelerates - causing more pollution.
“Having three lanes coming into Canterbury and just one coming out of Canterbury is daft. The majority of the hold-ups are from traffic leaving the city, backing up on the ring-road. So it’s completely bonkers.”
The project was approved when the 400-home development at Cockering Farm in Thanington was green -lit by the city council more than three years ago. Redrow, the firm delivering the homes, will be footing the bill for the new traffic system.
The council revealed its vision for a one-way layout back in 2014, with the benefits of the gyratory being listed in the transport strategy in its Local Plan.
As the highways authority, Kent County Council will be organising the management of the project, for which an exact timeframe has yet to be set.
A coastbound slip-road off the A2 is still a proposal which transport chiefs hope to fulfil, but plans remain up in the air.
A KCC spokesperson said:“We maintain an open mind about the possibilities for future development in this area.
“Officers are working with a range of partners, including National Highways and Canterbury City Council on options to relieve congestion in the area.”