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7 February 2011, 12:02
The Department for Transport (DfT) has told Dorset County Council that it will not fund the rebuilding of the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road.
In a statement, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the county council’s revised bid for £20m to renew Dorset’s busiest route had been unsuccessful.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review last October, the DfT asked councils to review the cost of proposed major transport schemes. The county council then submitted a new bid for the Spur Road project that identified a saving of £7m, or 25% of the original business case.
This bid was included in a pre-qualification pool with others from around the country to be assessed against criteria including potential to offer value for money and savings to the DfT.
However, the DfT has today informed the council that the saving offered is “insufficient”.
As a result, the project has not been included among 32 schemes today announced as being either green-lit or taken forward for further consideration by the DfT.
This means that, with the condition of the Spur Road in a state of decline, the county council and Bournemouth Borough Council will have to carry out frequent ad hoc repairs at an estimated cost of £1m a year.
Such works are likely to cause regular periods of disruption to road users over the next few years, as opposed to completely refurbishing the road within six months as planned. The county council will assess the condition of the Spur Road before it can put together an affordable programme of maintenance.
Peter Finney, Dorset County Council Cabinet member for transport, said:
“This decision is extremely disappointing, particularly as we showed clear evidence that the scheme would provide value for money and offered substantial savings.
“The costs in terms of traffic delays as a result of piecemeal maintenance will be badly felt by road users in the south-east Dorset conurbation.”
The county council originally submitted its business case for the A338 maintenance scheme in October 2009. The project had already been agreed at the regional level, with a requirement that work should start in 2010.
Over the winter of 2009-10, the council undertook essential advance works on the verges adjacent to the Spur Road to enable the scheme to start as scheduled in September 2010.
When the A338 was not among the major transport schemes approved for Government funding before the last General Election, the start of the scheme was delayed pending a decision on the funding. The new Government then postponed this decision to after the Comprehensive Spending Review.