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A299 Thanet Way roadworks and contraflow between Whitstable and Herne Bay to end eight weeks early

A hated £4.4 million roadwork scheme is set to finish eight weeks early – bringing an end to “nightmare” traffic for drivers.

Kent County Council has confirmed works on the A299 Thanet Way near Whitstable are well ahead of schedule and could see the route reopen much earlier than expected.

The coastbound carriageway of the Thanet Way is being resurfaced
The coastbound carriageway of the Thanet Way is being resurfaced

Better weather, improved logistics and the existing drainage being in a better condition than anticipated – meaning it will not be replaced – have been cited as contributing factors to the quicker turnaround.

It comes after a month of lengthy delays on the route as mile-long tailbacks have been reported since the works started on April 15.

A contraflow system has been in place between the Chestfield Tunnel near Herne Bay and the Dargate junction with the coastbound carriageway completely closed to replace the “bumpy” road.

Subject to weather conditions, the dual carriageway will fully reopen on June 1 instead of July 20 as first anticipated.

KCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport Cllr Neil Baker (Con) said: “The early completion of the extensive A299 works will be a welcome piece of good news for many people living, working and travelling through the area.

“Our work to reconstruct and resurface this stretch of road will mean the regular closures needed to reduce the road defects, which have caused the bumpy experience that plagued so many journeys, should be a thing of the past.

Traffic caused by a contraflow system on the New Thanet Way at Whitstable
Traffic caused by a contraflow system on the New Thanet Way at Whitstable

“I am grateful to everyone for their continued patience as we have worked at pace so we can continue to make sure the road surface is safe for the future, while helping to keep Kent moving.”

Neil Huntington, civil and commercial director from KCC’s contractor GW Highways, added: “GW Highways was delighted to be asked to get involved in the planning and delivery of this major reconstruction project on the A299 Thanet Way.

“With weather permitting we will be demobilising and handing back to the travelling public a new carriageway designed and installed for longevity.

“We can all be proud of delivering a safe fully sustainable solution within budget and eight weeks early.

“We would like to thank KCC for the opportunity to deliver this project alongside our trusted supply chain partners.”

The coastbound side of the road between the Whitstable turn-off and Chestfield Tunnel is being completely reconstructed.

KCC's Cllr Neil Baker is cabinet member for transport
KCC's Cllr Neil Baker is cabinet member for transport

Workers are digging the carriageway up to a significant depth and rebuild it with a much stronger construction, using specialist geotextile materials, different sized aggregates and multiple layers of asphalt.

The contraflow system was installed to minimise the disruption as much as possible.

It will remain in place until Monday, May 27 before full overnight closures between 7pm and 7am from Tuesday, May 28 to Friday, May 31 will see the system removed.

A temporary 40mph speed limit is in place 24 hours a day and lane closures may be required during the day with a signed diversion route installed for each direction of travel.

It comes as extensive works on the A2 between Brenley Corner and Wincheap are to get underway this week – a scheme which had left people fearful the area would become gridlocked.

The road will be shut overnight at weekends until the end of June on the Londonbound side between Canterbury and Faversham while the dual carriageway will also be reduced to one lane during the day, likely causing long queues on the approach to Brenley Corner.

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