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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 06:40 GMT
Works to loosen 'concrete collar'
Chatham ring road
The ring road around Chatham promises to revitalise the area
Work is about to get under way on a road scheme designed to free Chatham from its "concrete collar" ring road.

The project to turn the road system from one-way to two-way is described by Medway Council as one of the most challenging in its history.

The 2.5m first phase of the scheme is due to start later this month and finish halfway through August.

It is part of a 20-year programme to improve town and river sites in Strood, Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham.

The regeneration is expected to include 8,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs.

Minimise disruption

The council said that for 25 years Chatham's current road layout had restricted pedestrian movement, stifled trade and isolated the waterfront.

But it said a road scheme on this scale was not possible without disruption.

"The council is doing everything we can to minimise that disruption - and we ask residents to do the same," Councillor Phil Filmer said.

He said the council recommended that people consider travelling outside peak periods, taking an alternative route or using park and ride.

"Bear with us for now - you'll like the road ahead," he said.

Most of the 3km ring road will be two-way by the end of the first phase of the road project.

The second phase, planned for next year, will see the Sir John Hawkins flyover demolished along with other road improvements.

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