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.

Scheme cost

The original total scheme budget in 2018 for Bean Road Tunnel was £13 million, which has now risen due to a significant increase in costs following the coronavirus pandemic and unforeseen increases in the price of materials, compounded by the war in Ukraine, inflation and rising interest rates.

Scheme documents

View the scheme plan and the planning application for the Bean Road Tunnel.

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.

Scheme objectives

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.

Formal decisions

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, but expired in June 2023 and a new application is being prepared for a submission in early 2024.

The main construction works are currently being reviewed in light of the updated cost estimates and funding available to deliver the scheme.

Additional funding has been made available through the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) tranche 2 from the Department for Transport (DfT) which has enabled the scheme to move forward with a potential start of construction in summer to autumn 2024.

Funded by