Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Junction removed from A614 improvement scheme as overall costs rise by £16.7m

One of six Nottinghamshire junctions has been removed from a Government-backed road improvement scheme after overall budgets rose by nearly £17m.

The upgrade of the A614/A6097 has been in the pipeline for several years and is backed by tens of millions of pounds in Department for Transport (DfT) cash.

Its aim is to improve connectivity across the county and attract outward investment into Nottinghamshire’s infrastructure.

Overall, the scheme is expected to improve the “reliability of journey times” and increase capacity on a “key corridor” of the road network.

Six key junctions were initially outlined for improvement across the two roads, including enlarging the existing site at Ollerton roundabout.

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Road safety and maintenance improvements are also promised at the White Post roundabout, as well as “geometric improvements” at the A6097/A614 intersection at Warren Hill.

The existing roundabout at Lowdham would also be enlarged, while the signalised junction at Kirk Hill in East Bridgford would also be extended.

The sixth junction in the plan is Mickledale Lane, in Bilsthorpe, which was originally scheduled to reduce traffic light signals.

The scheme was then amended at the planning stage to construct a new roundabout and link road.

However, Nottinghamshire County Council has now confirmed this part of the scheme will be omitted from the DfT-backed spending.

It follows changes in the original 2020 expected cost for the wider scheme, which came in at £28.6m. This has risen by £16.7m to £45.3m at the latest 2023 estimates.

This includes costs for the Mickledale Lane plans rising from £5.8m to £11.8m between 2020 and 2023, as well as the Ollerton roundabout costs rising from £10.7m to £17.2m.

The Conservative-led authority says rising costs are the result of inflation and the war in Ukraine, as well as increased professional services fees.

The original estimates were funded through £24.3m from the DfT, with £2.55m from the county council and £1.75m from developer contributions.

However, the Government has said it cannot increase its support from the original £24.3m sum.

This has led to the council removing the Mickledale Lane improvements from its planning to ensure the wider scheme is not significantly overspent.

Overall, the remaining five junctions are expected to cost £34.4m to improve and the council will increase its own contribution from £2.55m to £8.35m – a rise of £5.8m.

In a report, the authority said removing Mickledale Lane will “allow a fuller consideration of the options available”.

It is still considered “strategically in need of improvement” and future works are likely to revert back to traffic signals rather than a new roundabout.

The authority admits the reverted option would “not improve journey times” but says it would “significantly increase accessibility” around local villages.

Work will be carried out in the coming months to establish the next steps for the junction, and the revised project will likely cost about £5m.

The change was discussed during the council’s cabinet meeting on Thursday (June 22).

Cllr Keith Girling (Con), cabinet member for economic development, said: “This way, we will be able to construct traffic lights on the junction as opposed to the roundabout and link road through fields.

“Removing Mickledale from the DfT scheme will improve value for money calculations and means we will be able to deliver a scheme which would significantly benefit local residents.”

He added: “Costs of construction projects have been steadily increasing.

“The impact of inflation and the political instability caused by the Ukraine war means projects across the country have risen from pre-Covid estimates.

“This is something we couldn’t have attributed and we are not alone.”

He also revealed planning permission for work on all six junctions has been secured and “major progress” is expected on other sites.

•  Council invests extra £10.8 million A614 to bring scheme one step closer to fruition

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