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Video: Two years of traffic chaos to create new Chatham 'city centre'


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Map of Chatham town centre showing its existing layout but big changes are on the way
Map of Chatham town centre showing its existing layout but big changes are on the way

The public faces two years of severe traffic disruption because of a £14.5 million traffic scheme.

The Medway Renaissance Partnership was briefed on Monday on the plans to stop all but buses and taxis from driving along the riverfront. Work starts in a month.

A temporary road will be built to enable the Sir John Hawkins flyover to be knocked down in May, a new bus station to be built and The Brook widened as part of an £8 million road plan that will transform Chatham's dowdy shopping area into a bustling city centre.

It was also disclosed the scheme has won the backing of Tesco, international bus operator Arriva and the Irish owners of the Pentagon shopping centre.

Work will start in February, but Brian Weddell, head of Medway Renaissance, warned the partners that the disruption should not be under-estimated.

"The benefit is going to come at the end of this," he promised.

Plans include the creation of a massive six-lane pedestrian crossing like Tokyo's Central Station junction, and the reintroduction of traffic crossing the pedestrianised High Street.

Council leader Cllr Rodney Chambers (Con), who briefed the press about the regeneration scheme on Tuesday afternoon said: "We are doing it so that businesses can continue to invest considerable sums in Chatham."

Strategic planning spokesman, Cllr Jane Chitty (Con) said: "The project is not without the greatest challenges of all the regeneration sites in Medway."

TIMETABLE

Temporary bus and taxi lane across Sir John Hawkins car park built - mid February, will take 13 weeks

Close flyover and demolish - May, 10 weeks

New road on site of flyover and Tokyo-style pedestrian crossing, Chatham High Street - open late summer.

Union Street six-lane pedestrian crossing - start late summer

New £6.5 million bus station - start January 2010. Expected to take more than two years.

• Read Alan Watkins' blog Tales from Gun Wharf for more on this story.

Medway Council leader Rodney Chambers says disruption will be worth it.

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