Bean Road Tunnel Fastrack Scheme
Bean Road Tunnel is a major civil infrastructure scheme to provide a Fastrack busway and a footway/cycleway linking Whitecliffe and Bluewater.
The scheme will construct a new tunnel through the chalk spine under the B255 Bean Road between Bluewater Shopping Centre and the Whitecliffe development. It will directly connect the centre to the new Ebbsfleet housing developments and Ebbsfleet International Railway Station. It will form part of the Fastrack bus rapid transit system within Dartford and Gravesham.
The tunnel will house a 3.5 metre wide single way Fastrack busway, as well as providing a shared use footway and cycleway.
The original overall scheme budget in 2018 for Bean Road Tunnel was £13.08 million.
The scheme is currently on hold due to a significant increase in costs following the coronavirus pandemic and unforeseen increases in the price of materials, which is compounded by the war in Ukraine, inflation and rising interest rates.
The Ebbsfleet area is due for significant growth in the coming years and with current levels of traffic congestion considered to be at critical levels already.
Fastrack is central to supporting the growth agenda encouraging sustainable transport use.
The objectives of this scheme are to:
- provide direct access for Fastrack buses, pedestrians and cyclists between Whitecliffe and Bluewater Shopping Centre
- improve pedestrian and cycle facilities to Bluewater Shopping Centre
- improve the existing transport provision via sustainable modes, including the use of fully electric buses.
The approval to progress the Bean Road Tunnel Scheme was taken by Kent County Council on 29 July 2019.
Planning permission for the scheme was granted on 24 June 2020.
The main construction works for the scheme are currently on hold while the business case is reviewed and additional funding opportunities are explored.