County council highways leader unphased by Lincoln eastern bypass wet weather delay

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Lincolnshire County Council’s highways boss has said he is “extremely relaxed” when it comes to potential delays to the £120 million Lincoln Eastern Bypass caused by recent wet weather.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, confirmed the scheme opening could be delayed due to the “extremely wet” weather in the run up to Christmas and the forecast for coming weeks.

“When you’ve got two or three feet of standing water it’s inevitable there are going to be delays. As we’re already in the middle of the winter it’s too early to say what that’s likely to be.

“The warning forecast-wise generally isn’t great for the next month, we’ve got some very bad weather coming in, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the scheme opening delayed.”

He said, however, it would be a “matter of weeks, rather than months” with the true length known for certain once drier weather came about.

He said he was “extremely relaxed when you’ve waited 80 years for the road.

“It’s probably, according to the Department For Transport, the most complicated, and largest infrastructure scheme any local authority is working on in the country at the moment.

“I’m proud that we’re on track. I’m very pleased that despite the setbacks the scheme has had – such as the Carillion and Hawk collapse – we’ve managed to remain on track.

“Mother Earth likes to put challenges in our way from time to time and anybody who’s got any experience of construction will know that when you get a lot of water standing sometimes you can’t do anything. I’m very pretty relaxed about it.”

Coun Davies did not foresee any extra costs due to the delay unless there was, for instance, “nine foot of snow”.

However, he added: “The reality is this is a scheme that has been nearly a century in the coming, we need to move the A15 away from spitting distance of one of the finest buildings in the country in terms of the cathedral.

“We’ve got to provide a route for people to get north and south and the county without having to drive slap bang through the middle of Lincoln, so you know what, if it’s a few weeks, couple of months late I’m very relaxed about that.”

The road is estimated to be completed in Spring 2020.