The first phase of a £6.65 million scheme to improve the A2500 Lower Road on the Isle of Sheppey has been completed.
The new roundabout replaces the previous traffic light-controlled junction between Lower Road and Barton Hill Drive.
Construction started on June 25 and over 21,000 hours have been worked, removing 4,000 cubic metres of soil, bringing in 6,500 tonnes of aggregate and laying 3,800 square metres of asphalt for the new road surface.
KCC cabinet member for highways Mike Whiting said: “It’s fantastic to see phase one completed before Christmas. We’ve always known Lower Road is a key route on Sheppey and any issue can cause gridlock across the Island.
“I am grateful to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Swale Borough Council and of course the local Member of Parliament, Gordon Henderson MP, for working with us to secure the funding and thank you to our contractors Breheny Civil Engineering for building the scheme.”
Phase two is due to follow next spring, funded by a further £3.2 million provided from the National Productivity Investment Fund together with further contributions from local developments.
Gordon Henderson MP, Member of Parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said: “For years I have been campaigning for something to be done to relieve the daily misery that has been inflicted on motorists using the Lower Road, which also impacts on other local roads.
“So I am delighted that the new roundabout is now in place and very much hope it will go some way to reduce traffic congestion in the area.”
Cllr Andrew Bowles, leader of Swale Borough Council, said: “The local community have suffered serious congestion along this stretch of the Lower Road for too long and this is the first step in trying to resolve this.
“We, along with the local parish councils, are keen to have more reliable access to Minster and for the communities at the eastern end of the Island, not only to make residents’ journeys that bit easier, but also to support the Island’s visitor economy.”
Christian Brodie, Chair of SELEP, said: “The new roundabout at the junction of Lower Road and Barton Hill drive is a vital new piece of infrastructure that will help ease congestion at this notorious bottleneck.
“Projects designed to make a real difference to the places where people live are exactly what Local Growth Fund support is all about, and it is always gratifying to see at first hand the realisation of a project that has been discussed in detail during the funding decision making process.
“I hope local people and visitors to the area alike notice a real difference to their journeys now that the roundabout is open.”
Breheny Civil Engineering Project Manager Alan McKibbin said: “We are delighted to have delivered this scheme for KCC and to have the roundabout open for the community of Sheppey before Christmas.
“All works have been undertaken safely, on time and with minimal disruption to the travelling public which will continue to be our ethos as we look forward to delivering phase two of the Scheme.”