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Vital slip road project given green light

The aim of the road is to fight city centre congestion
The aim of the road is to fight city centre congestion

CAMPAIGNERS have moved a step closer in their fight to reduce traffic congestion in a Kent city centre.

A new slip road linking the A28 at Wincheap in Canterbury to the A2 London-bound has been approved.

The news was announced following a cross-party meeting in London between Transport Minister Tom Harris, Canterbury MP Julian Brazier, Kent County Council leader Paul Carter and Canterbury council leader John Gilbey.

Mr Brazier said: "This is extremely good news and it will not involve demolishing anything."

And Paul Barrett, chairman of C4B (Canterbury for Business), which has long fought for the slip roads to take through traffic out of the city centre, said: "It is great news because it is something we have been campaigning for for some time.

"It is exactly what we want and will go some way towards relieving traffic congestion on that side of the city, although we also need one on the other side.

"We are really pleased as anything which keeps traffic out of Wincheap and cuts down on congestion in the city will help business and everyone else."

Mr Harris said Canterbury's status as a World Heritage Site, with four million visitors annually, was a major factor in his decision to give KCC approval in principle for the slip road.

It will cost about £1.8 million and design work is underway, with wildlife surveys being completed. The next step is for a planning application next year. It is hoped to start work in 2009/10 and it will take up to a year to complete.

KCC cabinet member for highways Keith Ferrin said: "This is a positive step forward but there is still more work to be done on improving access at Harbledown and Bridge and we will continue to look at this with the Highways Agency."

Mr Brazier added: "Canterbury has some of the worst congestion I have ever come across. I believe this will make a significant difference to reducing it."

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