Phase two of the East Kent Access scheme, built by the VolkerFitzpatrick Hochtief joint venture was opened by Norman Baker MP Parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport on Wednesday 23rd May 2012. He was joined by the leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, the MP of South Thanet, Laura Sandys, managing director of civil engineering at VolkerFitzpatrick, Des Steadman, and local residents from Cliffsend.
The scheme was delivered five months ahead of schedule and faced a number of civil engineering challenges, such as an underpass beneath a live railway at Cliffsend and dual carriageway bridge over the same railway at Cottington Road. Both were completed without any interruption to the railway services.
The road scheme aims to help boost economic growth in East Kent and was made possible by Kent County Council with £81.25 million of funding from the Department for Transport and £5.75 million from Kent County Council. It completes improvements of the A299 Thanet Way and A256 that were started in the 1980s and provides new and improved access between the Port of Dover, Ramsgate Port and Manston Airport.
Speaking on behalf of Hochtief and VolkerFitzpatrick, Des Steadman, managing director of civil engineering for VolkerFitzpatrick, said:
"The joint venture is proud to have been involved in the successful delivery of this challenging infrastructure project. Our team has worked collaboratively in an integrated team with Kent County Council and Jacobs to meet the expectations of all stakeholders, including Network Rail and the local community. Innovative solutions that have reduced risk and cost have been used with key contributions from our valued supply chain. I'd like to congratulate the project team for this great achievement."
The Minister said:
"Schemes like the East Kent Access Road are useful in giving the country the infrastructure needed for the economy to grow. That is why we provided funding of more than £80 million to deliver the scheme and why I am delighted to be here to open this important new road link today.
"This project sends the clear message that Kent is open for business by providing improved local, national and international transport links to the area as well as more reliable journey times. The scheme will also benefit local communities by diverting long-distance traffic from smaller roads leaving them free for local traffic - so it's a win-win for Kent."
Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, said:
"Completed ahead of time and below budget, the East Kent Access Road will further transform access to this part of the county. Providing vastly improved transport links to Discovery Park - the former Pfizer site - and the EuroKent and Manston business parks in particular, it is a vital piece of the new transport map for East Kent, which will help unlock the area's massive potential, attracting new inward investment and job opportunities for local people."