Rising costs of new road

The cost of one stretch of a controversial Spalding relief road has increased by more than £8m, a county council report has revealed.

Three road projects in Lincolnshire could come in at a total of £28m above the initial estimated figures and coronavirus has been blamed for some of the additional expenditure.

But the county council is looking to save money on the Spalding scheme in the long-run.

The original estimated bill for the most northerly section of the controversial bypass in Spalding was £13.2m, but a meeting of the county’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board will hear today (Thursday) that the figure has risen to around £21m.

In total, the scheme along with a link road east of Lincoln and a southern relief road planned for Grantham could cost the county more than £184m.

The Spalding project has not cited coronavirus as an issue, but “detailed design for the embankments of the scheme has resulted in a significant increase in construction costs from that envisaged at the construction stage,” says the report.

The potential shortfall facing the Spalding scheme has been covered by a grant from Homes England.

“As part of its detailed design, we identified that the costs for certain elements of the section, including its embankment, might be higher than our original estimates,” said Karen Cassar, assistant director for Highways.

“However, Homes England has provided us with up to an additional £8m grant allocation from its housing infrastructure fund to cover these.

“We are also carrying out value engineering exercises to bring the costs down,” she added.

The report due to go before the county committee describes the situation as a ‘forecast overspend.’

The other two schemes, a southern relief road for Grantham and an eastern link road for Lincoln, have been hit by the pandemic.

Extreme weather events and modifying working practice to comply with COVID-19 regulations have seen a revised total for both projects.

The 3.5km stretch for the Grantham Southern Relief Road has seen a budget increase by £12m to a total of £81m.

A 7.5km length of road to the east of Lincoln has seen a rise in costs by £8.75m, according to the report.

Meanwhile, work on the Spalding project is progressing with archaeological investigations more than halfway complete and set to finish in October.

“Works to clear vegetation along the route and take down two properties on Spalding Road are planned for next month. We still expect main construction to start later this year.”

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