Take it from us – end in sight to problems of new A16

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We want to provide local residents and road users with an open update on the work that we are doing towards rectifying the embankment failure at Car Dyke on the new A16 (A1073) road.

First of all, we fully appreciate that many members of the public feel confused and frustrated about the situation – we understand this as we are also keen to see the whole new road open for use, for the benefits that it will bring to both the local and regional communities.

Following extensive investigations and monitoring of the ground under the area of the embankment failure, Lincolnshire County Council are now very close to understanding the cause of the problem and are working with the main contractor to price and programme the required remedial works. This has not been a simple task and has necessitated taking additional geotechnical advice.

Issues of ground stabilisation are complex and it is vitally important that we take the time now, first to fully establish and understand the failure and then to find the correct long-term solution. To do this, geotechnical experts have had to take a series of readings over a period of time to gain an accurate and detailed picture of the movement both under and within the embankment.

Whilst it is natural that people want to look for someone to blame, the underlying problem appears to be a geological issue within the ground beneath the embankment rather than a workmanship problem. At this stage, apportioning blame is not a priority as all our efforts are focussed on getting the road open. It is, however, not unrealistic to expect that once the remedial works are complete, a full investigation as to any defects in design or construction will be undertaken and the costs of the remedial works recovered as may be appropriate.

We are aware that Eye Green residents have been hardest hit by this delay, having had planned traffic-calming measures delayed until the new A16 is fully open. We offer our apologies and reassurances that this delay will be kept to an absolute minimum after a solution is found.

It’s also worth pointing out that, whilst the delays to receiving these benefits are frustrating, the new road has not been at any cost to the Peterborough City Council tax payers. All the funding for the new A16 is from Lincolnshire County Council and the Department for Transport, and Lincolnshire County Council have managed the entire works on behalf of Peterborough City Council.

We would also like to take this opportunity to clarify recent reports in the local press that we are £6m under budget. This is not the case; although some monies have yet to be paid, all funds are allocated and our outturn costs (excluding the cost of remedial works to the embankment) are as the original budget figures.

On behalf of Peterborough City Council and Lincolnshire County Council, we would like to reiterate the first-class working relationship that has existed between the two authorities throughout all stages of this scheme and we are continuing to work closely together to bring the current situation to a swift conclusion. We believe, however, that it’s unlikely the Car Dyke section of the road will be open before the spring/early summer of 2011.

On a final note, we all need to recognise the scale of this project – this is the largest highway scheme ever undertaken in the history of each authority and is the largest piece of entirely new road currently under construction in Britain.

Coun William Webb executive member for Highways at Lincolnshire County Council

Coun Peter Hiller cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and planning at Peterborough City Council