Published: 14:32, 30 June 2021
| Updated: 14:41, 30 June 2021
A £5million Fastrack bus service has been given the go ahead to boost the creation of thousands of new homes.
The route will run three miles from Ebbsfleet International through Northfleet Embankment onto Gravesend bus hub via a contraflow lane in Bath Street.
Journey times for Fastrack passengers will be four minutes quicker from Dartford to Gravesham over the next two years following the creation of the new bus service.
It comes as 9,000 new homes are expected to be built in Gravesham by 2026, including in Gravesend town centre, the Canal Basin and Northleet Embankment.
Kent County Council’s (KCC) transport committee granted the bus application, intended to reduce road congestion in the area, during an online debate yesterday.
Simon Jones, KCC’s interim corporate director of transport, said: "Implementing this scheme will directly improve journey times for Fastrack users.
"The scheme will reduce congestion and improve accessibility through the delivery of a fully integrated sustainable Fastrack network.
His comments were published in a report ahead of the meeting.
At yesterday's meeting, there was no public discussion, but the scheme was approved by a panel of 16 councillors under key recommendations.
Fastrack operates via congestion-free routes in a 40km network extending from Dartford to Gravesham, with priority lanes and traffic light junctions.
The scheme is part of the overall Fastrack programme, which comprises of 28 individual projects across Dartford, Gravesham and Ebbsfleet.
Under this, bus stops are being created in Barrack Row in Gravesend town centre with upgrades to three other stops near Tesco Metro in Garrick Street.
Fastrack’s latest plans will see a new route via Bath Street connected to the north at the West Street and Church Street roundabout and the bus hub.
The total budget for the transport scheme is £5.52million, which will be paid for in a capital grant from housing firm Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.
In his report, Mr Jones added: "It will make sustainable transport a real alternative to the private car, particularly residents in new developments including Northfleet Embankment East."
Detailed designs will be finalised by March 2022 followed by a public consultation in the summer.
It is hoped the scheme will be finalised by July 2023, with construction starting in August 2022.