End of the road for town centre traffic works
Finally, we're moving on with the last phase of roadworks associated with the Spirit of Sittingbourne development in the town centre. It’s been a long time coming for a series of roadworks which started on 24th July 2017 and were anticipated to be completed by September 2018.
I was told at the time that the dates were highly provisional and subject to fluctuate and was berated for daring to make this information public knowledge. However, when project forecast to last approximately 14-months ends up taking 28 months, something has gone horribly wrong.
So from today (see update) the roadworks will move to the eastern end of the one-way system, and onto Fountain Street and Dover Street adjacent to Spring Street car park leading to Milton Road (by the railway bridge).
Fountain Street and the Dover Street (from Spring Street car park to Milton Road by the railway bridge) will be fully closed during the works (shown in red), and a traffic management system will be in place at the end of the St Michael’s Road gyratory near Lidl.
There will also be traffic management at the intersection of St. Michael’s Road and Dover Street (by Spring Street car park), while we conduct works on the junction. The remainder of the St Michael’s Road one-way system, by Cockleshell Walk, will remain as a single lane.
It is also worth noting that both Cockleshell Walk and Spring Street car parks will remain open, but with a reduced number of spaces.
As outlined above, when completed the section of the one-way system adjacent to Cockleshell Walk, will permanently be reduced to a single carriageway with parking bays for the proposed flats if they ever get built.
The original illustration shows the road opening up to two lanes when you get around the bend adjacent to Spring Street car park, but this is definitely no longer the case as the kerb line has been brought in on both sides of the road and it looks like it will only split just prior to the junction with Dover Road. Unfortunately, the Spirit of Sittingbourne chose not to respond to my emails so I have no way of checking although a representative of Swale Borough Council thought it would be largely the same.
Amusingly in the press release the Spirit of Sittingbourne say “These roadworks are part of highway improvements, which will ultimately make the area more accessible for pedestrians.”
You can get in touch with the Spirit of Sittingbourne if you have any further queries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: After visiting the area today, 3rd September and chatting with some of the workforce, it is blindly obvious that the previous Phase 3 roadworks on the first half of the one-way system are still some way off completion. The guys on site didn't think they would be moving onto the next phase for a few more weeks yet.
I can also confirm that the number of spaces in Cockleshell Walk has reduced again since my last visit which now means the loss of a fairly large number of spaces.
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The diabolical road scheme that the previous administration of Bowles & Co have inflicted upon Sittingbourne has had the unintended consequence of moving traffic flow to the south side of the high street. With the first phase of the housing developments on the land adjacent to Eurolink Way now coming on to the market the traffic situation to the north of the railway line will only deteriorate.
The coming years will only see the whole town traffic system grind to a halt. The only way out is probably to bulldoze the whole lot and start again.
Is anyone actually intending to use the new multi-storey car park?
Is there some hope that the Cockellshell Walk flats will not be built?