Residents are bracing themselves for years of work on a sprawling 800-home estate that will transform one of the main routes into Herne Bay.
Countryside Properties anticipates diggers will move onto Strode Farm this summer, with construction set to last until 2031.
This comes after Canterbury City Council last week gave the green light to one of the final pieces in the scheme’s jigsaw – multi-million-pound plans to build a new route out of the town.
The highway will extend from the roundabout nearest Herne Bay cemetery in Canterbury Road and end at another to be constructed in Bullockstone Road.
It forms part of the major Herne Relief Road project, the second half of which will be delivered by Kent County Council.
Authority chiefs believe the new route will ease congestion through the village of Herne – but some residents question these claims, fearing “it’s an accident waiting to happen”.
Jill Holness, who neighbours the development, told KentOnline: “It’s meant to be a bypass, but with the amount of building work and the increase in traffic, I don’t think it will make a lot of difference.
“There’s going to be a lot of traffic, stopping and starting, along that new road. I feel really sorry for the people living near where it will be – the noise and pollution they’ll have will be ridiculous.
“It’s a nice field behind my garden at the moment, but all I’ll be looking at when the estate is built is the rear of houses.
“My street is like a country road and, all of a sudden, we’ll have 800 homes round here.”
Fearing her garden will be overlooked by a number of new-builds, Ms Holness, 63, says she has planted nine trees to preserve her privacy.
Prior to lodging its proposals for the thoroughfare, Countryside had already been given the go-ahead to build a completely new junction at the Canterbury Road roundabout to accommodate the route through Strode Farm.
But its revised scheme will see the developer reconfigure the roundabout, with its most significant change being the sealing off of the Thanet Way on-slip towards Whitstable.
Motorists will instead have to turn into a new exit onto the housing development’s spine route, which will be equipped with a traffic-lit junction leading to the A-road.
Locals fear the changes to the on-slip – which will make it 120 metres shorter than the current one – could put drivers in danger as they join the dual-carriageway.
“This is an accident waiting to happen,” 57-year-old Graham Jones, of Canterbury Road, said in a letter to the city council.
“Vehicles, including cars and lorries, with slow acceleration will have to start from a standstill at the traffic lights, navigate a curved slip-road, and then wait for a gap to enter the carriageway safely.
“This will give rise to situations where considerably faster traffic will be met by slow-moving vehicles.
“It seems to me that attempting to join the westbound carriageway of the Thanet Way is going to be fraught with danger. There is an existing slip-road which serves the purpose adequately.”
However, papers show KCC highways officers believe the revised slip-road is “technically compliant” and would “retain a sufficient length to prevent any unacceptable safety impact from arising”.
They also think the fresh plans for the roundabout would improve traffic flow, while also creating “considerably less disruption during construction than the previously approved designs”.
And as city council officials approved the scheme, they argued the “urbanising impacts of the development” would be outweighed by the “public benefits” from the wider relief road.
A Countryside spokesperson said: “Ahead of the roadworks starting this summer, we have submitted a management plan to the local authority which sets out how we intend to minimise disturbance to existing local residents.
“As part of this, we will be managing working hours closely, as well as arranging for multiple access points to the scheme to mitigate local impact.
“The design of the road is the preferred option of KCC and will meet all the current design criteria published by the Department for Transport.”
Countryside is now seeking technical approval from the county council for the road scheme.
The work to reconfigure the roundabout will take about a year, while the spine route is planned for completion in 2023.
Papers also reveal the Canterbury Road roundabout will be converted into a “dumbbell arrangement”, preventing vehicles from turning around at the junction.
Traffic lights will also be installed at two of the turnings, regulating traffic heading from Herne Bay and the Thanet Way off-slip.
The spine road will end at a KCC-built roundabout in Bullockstone Road. The authority will begin its part of the relief route project, costing almost £9 million, in June.
It will be kicked off with the installation of another roundabout at the junction between Bullockstone Road and the A291 Canterbury Road.
Bullockstone Road will then be widened, fitted with a pavement and have its speed limit reduced to 40mph.