Published: 14:51, 03 June 2021
| Updated: 15:23, 03 June 2021
The first stages of long-awaited work to extend an A2 off-slip at Canterbury have begun this week.
The route taking drivers off the London-bound carriageway at Wincheap is to be widened and made longer in a bid to improve safety and prevent queues.
A new access road - branching off the slip - is also to be installed to create a new entrance to the under-construction 750-home Saxon Fields development behind Thanington.
Preliminary work, which includes strimming verges and ecology checks, started on Tuesday and is expected to last for about two months.
This project - delayed due to the pandemic - will involve a number of overnight closures of the slip-road and a lane on the A2. The actual widening and extending of the slip-road is expected to begin later this summer.
But the long-planned proposals for a new coastbound off-slip at Wincheap have yet to get off the ground.
A design was previously agreed upon, yet Highways England could not accept the project due to safety fears.
Now, Pentland Homes, the developer behind the Saxon Fields scheme, is “still investigating various alternative off-slip arrangements” with Highways England and Kent County Council.
It cannot build its 450th home until it has paid an £8.8m bill and delivered the new slip-road.
Only then can a Wincheap relief road be built to run from the new off-slip and through the industrial estate.
The long-running saga is also delaying the city council’s plan to expand Wincheap park and ride. All of the projects are dependent on each other, and their fates entwined.
City council spokesman Rob Davies said: “The detailed design for the A2 off-slip alignment in the developer’s planning application cannot be accepted by Highways England and as a consequence we cannot deliver our planning consent for the park and ride extension. As such this has now been formally revoked.
“The developer is still investigating various alternative off-slip arrangements with both Highways England and KCC and until a solution is agreed we won’t know the implications for park and ride provision.
“The provision of the fourth slip road and the Wincheap relief road remain strategic transportation priorities for both us and KCC.”