The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has approved £122m for two major road improvement schemes in Kent.

Of the total funding, £81.25m will be used towards the £87m East Kent access scheme to upgrade five miles of the A256 and A299 to dual carriageway.

The two projects are expected to reduce congestion, improve travel times, improve safety for road users and pedestrians and help boost the economy in the area.

Work includes improvements on road links between the Isle of Thanet, the M2 motorway, Kent International Airport, Canterbury and the European gateways of Ramsgate, Dover and the Channel Tunnel.

Nearly £23.4m of the total grant will be used in the second £35m Sittingbourne Northern Relief Road scheme to link the A249 with the eastern outskirts of the town.

Work includes building a 5km road to link the Ridham Avenue roundabout with Castle Road roundabout and cross Milton Creek.

Work on the East Kent access project is expected to begin in October and finish in late 2012 while the Sittingbourne scheme is expected to start in September and finish in late 2011.