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A299 Thanet Way roadworks and contraflow between Whitstable and Herne Bay due to end this weekend

Hated roadworks delaying rush-hour journeys on a major route by up to 45 minutes are set to end eight weeks early this weekend.

Overnight closures are now in place on the A299 Thanet Way between Whitstable and Herne Bay as crews prepare to remove a contraflow and reopen the dual-carriageway on Saturday.

The contraflow system has been in place for more than a month now
The contraflow system has been in place for more than a month now

The system has been in place between the Chestfield Tunnel near Herne Bay and the Dargate junction since April 15, with the coastbound carriageway completely closed to replace the “bumpy” road.

The Londonbound contraflow has now been lifted, while full overnight closures between 7pm and 7am from tonight to Friday will facilitate the full reopening of the road.

A 40mph speed limit will remain in place at all times during this period.

It comes after weeks of lengthy delays on the route as mile-long tailbacks have been reported since the works started, with commuters facing journeys four times longer than usual.

The nature of the works has left many frustrated, with some accusing council bosses of trying to make life difficult.

Brian Austin, from Herne Bay, previously told KentOnline: “It's almost like someone's got a vendetta against this part of the coast, this part of Kent.”

But earlier this month, Kent County Council announced the £4.4 million project was ahead of schedule.

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

The original plan had been to keep the contraflow system and temporary 40mph speed limit until July 20.

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

A total of eight weeks were knocked off the timetable.

A stretch of the coastbound side of the road between the Whitstable turn-off and Chestfield Tunnel has been reconstructed.

KCC's Neil Baker
KCC's Neil Baker

Workers have dug the carriageway up to a significant depth and rebuilt it with a much stronger construction, using specialist geotextile materials, different-sized aggregates and multiple layers of asphalt.

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.

“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.”

Kent County Council has been contacted for comment.

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