Return Of The Mack Mark Morrision
2 February 2017, 11:51
Drivers fed up with the delays at the King's Dyke Levels Crossing at Whittlesey are being told the bridge replacement work - will start later this year.
The A605, which is a vital artery to jobs, health and leisure facilities, is routinely shut by the level crossing. Cambridgeshire County Council has been working to remove the crossing to help the local economy and communities.
The plan to replace the crossing with a bridge and bypass to the south was overwhelmingly popular with the public, local businesses and Councillors. The bypass will connect to the A605 with roundabouts at Funthams Lane and the brick works access road.
Planning permission for the bridge and bypass was granted in spring 2016 and preparations have continued behind the scenes at the County Council over the last eight months of the year. Officers started on-site in early January to carry out land surveys, ground investigations and negotiations with landowners. The surveys will provide information about soil conditions, which is crucial for construction design.
A tender inviting companies to bid for this multi-million pound project is planned to go out in March 2017. After a 10 - 12 week period, officers will evaluate the bids and then make an announcement when a contractor is chosen. The successful bidder will work with County Council officers to draw up detailed engineering designs for the bridge and bypass prior to the start of works.
The Compulsory Purchase Orders necessary to buy the land needed for the scheme are also being prepared and these orders will go out soon. The Orders will advertise the County Council's intentions to buy the land for the statutory notification period.
A presentation on the scheme was given to Fenland District Councillors at their Full Council meeting in November and County Council Officers are regularly liaising Whittlesey Council Councillors on scheme progress. The Project Manager, Tim Watkins, also recently updated Whittlesey Town Council on developments.
Officers anticipate that the earliest possible start date for works on site at King's Dyke will be autumn 2017, subject to CPO objections and Network Rail permissions.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of the Economic and Environment Committee, said:
"Anybody who has been stuck at these level crossing gates knows how vital their removal is. The problem is made worse when other nearby routes out of Whittlesey are flooded and closed, causing even greater queues and congestion. We have been working hard, with local communities, to bring this scheme to fruition and I look forward to seeing the diggers start."