Lancashire motorists have been warned that completion of the long awaited Broughton by-pass will be delayed until early 2018.
Lancashire County Council admitted today that the road on the outskirts of Preston will now open several months later than planned, due to unforeseen delays and rising costs which will push the price of the project to £32m.
The council says problems included:
• a delay caused by a utility contractor unable to carry out work as planned
• the rebuilding of an embankment which collapsed due to extremely wet ground conditions
• redesigned drainage to accommodate underground equipment
• more challenging ground conditions than expected.
The construction of the new bypass is being carried out by Hochtief UK, on behalf of Lancashire County Council and was due for completion this summer.
The new route, aims to reduce traffic travelling through the centre of Broughton on the A6 Garstang Road by up to 90% and improve journey times in and out of the city.
County Coun Keith Iddon, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We share people’s frustrations at these delays and apologise for the disruption it has been causing to people’s homes, businesses and journeys. We’re clearly disappointed that there has been a further delay to this scheme, and look forward to seeing the final stages completed.”
He continued: “We’re working with the contractors to do everything that we can to minimise the inconvenience while this major build takes place. It’s a big challenge to construct a major road such as the bypass, with the A6 carrying a lot of traffic and few options for alternative routes, which would allow us to close roads for longer as part of the work.
“It’s been many decades since this road was first considered and the reality is that despite the delays, in a few months we will have a new bypass which will bring much-needed congestion relief to the village itself and the wider area. Great progress has already been made and a lot of construction work has been done which people may not be able to see from the road.”
Some overnight closures will still be required close to the M55/A6 junction to connect the new road to the current network.
Traffic management is not anticipated at the new A6 roundabout and the Whittingham Lane roundabout, and will be carried out off-peak, if required.
The delay, as well as unforeseen cost increases and payments, will affect the overall cost of the scheme, with the total now estimated at £32m. The additional funding will come from the City Deal budget, with other highway improvement schemes amended to meet the shortfall.
Other current work includes noise-reducing barriers along the route, drainage, bridge work and earthwork. Early July should see work start on installing noise-reducing fencing for Broughton-in-Amounderness church and school.
By-Pass Progress Report
•The final overnight closure of the A6 north of Broughton to complete the surfacing work on the A6 roundabout hs takenplace and vehicles will soon be able to use the new roundabout.
• The Whittingham Lane Roundabout has opened to the public and surfacing work is almost complete between the A6 roundabout and Whittingham Lane.
• Most of the surfacing close to D’Urton Lane and the new southern roundabout has been completed. Work is taking place to connect the bypass to D’Urton Lane.
• Surfacing work at the M55 end of the bypass, where it meets the A6, will start next week. The final work will require short overnight closures in the summer.