A new puffin crossing on Canterbury Road in Birchington has been officially opened today (Monday, September 11).
Kent County Council installed the crossing on both sides of the dual-carriageway to make it easier and safer for pedestrians, particularly school children, to cross the busy A road.
The scheme will encourage slower speeds and improve the road safety in the vicinity of the two secondary schools, King Ethelbert and Ursuline College.
This scheme which has cost £175,000 was funded by the county council’s Local Transport Plan and took approximately six weeks to complete.
Testing of the lights was completed last week and has been running successfully over the weekend.
KCC cabinet member for transport Matthew Balfour said: “I am pleased that we have been able to fund this important safety feature for people in the area and I know it has been something they have been asking for.
“As well as the crossing there is a new advisory 20mph speed limit along the stretch that covers King Ethelbert’s and Ursuline at the beginning and end of the school day.”
Kent County Council officers had met with representatives from King Ethelbert School, Ursuline College and local councillors last year to discuss their concerns and agreed to make a bid for funding to construct the crossing.
Cllr Balfour added: “We listened to those concerns and were able to secure funding for this important crossing.
“I appreciate there would have been some disruption on the road and I thank residents for bearing with us during the construction and hope you’ll agree that it has been a worthwhile and important addition to the road.”
King Ethelbert headteacher Kate Greig said: “We are absolutely delighted that Kent County Council has funded and now completed the Puffin crossing outside King Ethelbert School.
“The danger to children’s lives with the situation as it was caused a huge worry to our local community every day and thanks to the support of students, parents, friends, KCC and Thanet District Council we have finally got what we deserved.
“My particular thanks go to Councillor Suzanne Brimm for her relentless campaigning, Kelly Garrett from Kent County Council who has been so professional and understanding in her dealings with us all and Adam Solly our own Director of Houses who has organised school-wide funding and awareness events.
“Our students are taught road safety and we will continue to have these vital lessons throughout their time at school but the building of the Puffin crossing makes it so much easier and safer for us all.”