Work began on a £9.5 million link road scheme in Gravesend this morning.
A ceremonial ground cutting took place marking the official start of work after the end of archaeological surveys.
Taking part were Kent County Council cabinet member for transport Matthew Balfour, leader of Gravesham council John Cubitt, and Jackson Civil Engineering contracts manager Andy Nailor.
The link road, running between Stone Street and Darnley Road, will be two-way and will pavements which include a cycle path.
It crosses the existing Rathmore Road car park but there will still be 64 spaces including at least six disabled spaces.
A path will lead from the car park to a crossing allowing people to easily reach the station.
A new station forecourt will be built on the south side of the station and will provide room for the drop off and pick up of passengers, a taxi stand and five disabled parking spaces.
Clive Road will become a cul-de-sac with a connection to Barrack Row for buses only. People will still be able to use it for access to the north side of the station, station car park and the Thamesgate car park.
The St James’s Road junction with Darnley Road will be made an exit only to avoid the risk of an increase in traffic.
“I appreciate there will be disruption whilst the works are being done, and I apologise in advance, but I’d ask you to bear with us for what ultimately will be a good thing for Gravesend.” KCC's Matthew Balfour.
KCC cabinet member for transport Matthew Balfour said: “These works will also see improvements to pavements and the station forecourt, improving the look of the entire area. It will also help pedestrians get around the town quicker and easier.
“I appreciate there will be disruption whilst the works are being done, and I apologise in advance, but I’d ask you to bear with us for what ultimately will be a good thing for Gravesend.”
The cost is covered by £4.2m in Local Growth Funding and a £5.3m Kent Thameside Strategic Transport Programme grant.
Construction is due to be completed by December 2017.
Gravesham council leader John Cubitt did admit that the project would cause some disruption on the roads around the train station, but insisted that it would be a case of short term pain for long term gain.
“This project is part of our vision for a transport quarter in Gravesend and the work to Rathmore Road is going to see huge improvements to not only the immediate area but the town as a whole," he said.
“It will mean, once finished, traffic congestion is minimal, making it easy to visit and get around the town.
“While work takes place there will inevitably be some disruption to our car parks but we have put in suitable alternatives and we thank our residents, businesses and visitors for their patience during the time of the work.”
During construction when Rathmore Road car park is unavailable, the nearest alternative parking will be in Parrock Street car park - 14 additional blue badge spaces have been provided.
Jackson Civil Engineering will have a dedicated person based at the site offices in Lord Street car park to deal with any queries.
Jackson Civil Engineering contracts manager Andy Nailor said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this contract and working for KCC again and will try to deliver it with as little inconvenience as possible to Gravesend residents and businesses.”
For more, see next week's Gravesend Messenger.