A MILESTONE cycle path connecting Tunbridge Wells with Tonbridge moved a step closer this week as work got underway on the final phases.
The shared pedestrian and cycle route will link Tunbridge Wells Hospital with the A21 Longfield Road junction at North Farm. Construction began on Monday (October 9).
Cyclists can benefit from the four-mile route, linking Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge town centres, when the link is completed around April time.
Tonbridge Road will be closed to northbound traffic towards the junction for three weeks although Kent County Council has stressed that access to the hospital from Pembury Road will not be compromised.
Roadworks will then be suspended from Monday, November 13 to Sunday, January 7, to allow for Christmas shopping traffic, before recommencing.
Highways England and Kent County Council promised a combined £900,000 to improve roads around the A21, which will include funding for the cycle path.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Councillor Paul Barrington-King, who represents Pembury ward, said the development of the A21 carriageway presented an “ideal,” opportunity to install the track.
He added: “I have made it clear for a long time that this road is dangerous for cyclists and have always been supportive of increasing the facilities for safer cycling. It’s a milestone achievement that shows councillors working together. It is brilliant that people can now cycle to Tonbridge safely.”
The county council completed consultations in the summer and received “support,” for the proposal which will join two existing cycle paths along Tonbridge Road.
The complete cycle path is expected to begin at one end at Vauxhall Roundabout in Tonbridge, where an existing route leads to the railway station, and follow alongside the A21.
The track will be constructed on the road’s west verge. New streetlights will be installed along the stretch while the surface of Blackhurst Lane will be improved to provide a link to the new footbridge under construction over the A21.
The road closure will force motorists travelling northbound from the hospital or Notcutts Garden Centre to head south towards the Pembury junction near Tesco before joining the A21.
Councillor Barrington-King said road works would only be for “a short period of time”.
He continued: “One must look at the greater benefit of all this. This is going to be great and I would encourage people to use it.”