Construction work on the Dover Fastrack bus service is due to start this month.
On Wednesday February 2, it was announced that Kent County Council had awarded the construction contract to Colas UK Projects Ltd, meaning construction can now begin.
Plans will link Whitfield to Dover town center and Dover Priory station and include a new bus, cycle and pedestrian bridge over the A2 in Whitfield, and a new link road from the B&Q roundabout in Whitfield to Dover Road to Guston.
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The junction with Dover Road will be reserved for buses, bicycles and pedestrians.
Construction is expected to take around 18 months and over 10,000 new trees, shrubs and hedges will be planted by the developers as part of their goal to reduce carbon emissions.
A fleet of new Volvo electric buses will run on the Fastrack, making it the county’s first zero-emission bus service, and it is hoped the plans will create an efficient transport interchange with high-speed train services from the station from Dover Priory, ideal for commuting, business and leisure trips to and from London.
It will also provide a quick and easy way to reach the city center and Dover Castle.
Cllr Trevor Bartlett, leader of Dover District Council, said: “We are delighted that Dover is boasting Kent’s first zero-emission bus service, demonstrating our commitment to improving public transport options so that locals have real alternatives to car travel.
“Dover Fastrack represents the biggest investment in public transport in Dover for many years and is essential to the delivery of new accommodation in Whitfield and the former Connaught Barracks site, and to our ambitions to reduce carbon emissions. “
David Brazier, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I am delighted to confirm that after much preparatory work and negotiation, work on this exciting project is about to begin.
“It is vitally important that public transport provision is extended and improved, and the Dover Fastrack is a big step forward with this ambition.”
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Sean Jeffery, Executive Director of Colas, said: “Colas is delighted to have won this project and the team looks forward to continuing to work with Kent County Council to develop projects that support the council’s ambition to be net zero.
Dover Fastrack is backed by central government with £22.9million from a funding scheme designed to help spur new housing development in Whitfield and the former site of Connaught Barracks.
The district council has received the grant from Homes England and works in partnership with the county council as the highways authority.