Spalding-Peterborough road: opening delayed yet again

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THE FULL £80.3 million road from Spalding to Peterborough will not now open until October – and works to fix the problem which has delayed the project could cost up to £4 million.

Lincolnshire County Council has revealed that the final 7km of the new A16 will not open until the autumn, despite earlier stating it hoped to open it in late spring/early summer.

The whole road was supposed to open in July last year but a crack was discovered under the embankment at Car Dyke Bridge near the A47 at Peterborough, leaving the 14km between Crowland and Spalding to open separately last August.

Elaine Turner, head of Highways Technical Services, said: “We know this has been a frustrating time for road users and residents, but we are now confident that the right solution is underway and vehicles will be able to use the route later this year.

“The problem has been caused by a complex combination of factors, the main reason being the presence of small, pre-existing shear surfaces within the weathered Oxford Clay which have moved under the embankment’s weight.

“In essence, the underlying clay layer has separated into two, moved horizontally and the slope of the embankment has moved with it.

“The solution we are now putting in place is to install concrete piles – long concrete cylinders – along the bottom of the western embankment that will cut through the shear planes and stabilise the embankment.

“We thank everyone for their patience and understanding so far in what has been a complicated geological issue to resolve.”

The council says the cost of the extra work, which began on February 21, will come from its strategic reserves initially, but that it will look to recoup any money it can from third parties who may be responsible for the problems.

South Holland district councillor Bryan Alcock, who represents Crowland, said: “To take from now until October it must be a mammoth task.

“Crowland people are concerned about the fact that a colossal amount of public money has gone into this.

“At the moment they seem to be adopting the principle of ‘let’s get it fixed and then we’ll bother about whose fault it was’. Somewhere somobody is culpable and I think local people would like to know who.”

Locals have said they would have been able to tell county bosses in advance that the land was unsuitable for a bridge but the council says English Heritage insisted on the structure because Car Dyke is a site of historic importance.