County council officials and Sleaford and North Hykeham's MP have welcomed assurances of funding for the final section of the Lincoln bypass.
Dr Caroline Johnson MP pressed for a commitment of £108m in funding from Boris Johnson at yesterday’s (Wednesday's) Prime Minister’s Questions to build the North Hykeham Relief Road.
The road is the final section of the Lincoln bypass, connecting the Western bypass and the A46 to the currently being constructed Eastern bypass at Bracebridge Heath, completing the ring road around the City of Lincoln and bypassing congested roads through North Hykeham. The road would also be seen to help ease access to the city for hundreds of commuters from Sleaford and district every day.
The project has been planned by Lincolnshire County Council. The total cost is estimated at £153 million, including a £45 million contribution from the council and developers; they have requested £108 million from government to help deliver it.
Dr Johnson recently conducted a survey of her constituents in North Hykeham, and almost 90 per cent of respondents felt that traffic congestion in the area was severe. She says she has been lobbying the government for support for the relief road project, including meetings with the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport.
At Prime Minister's Questions, she asked the Prime Minister to confirm his Government will support the building of the bypass.
The Prime Minister responded: “Not only can I confirm that, but I can thank both her and our candidate in Lincoln, Karl McCartney, for everything they have done to campaign for that bypass.”
Andy Gutherson, Executive Director of Place, said: "We welcome the Prime Minister's comments and look forward to receiving official funding confirmation from the Department for Transport sometime in the near future.
"Among its many other benefits, the road will help us meet growth targets for the area, improve A46 connectivity between the Midlands through to the Humber ports, and better connect the rest of the country to Lincolnshire’s coast."
Commenting afterwards, Caroline said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has confirmed his commitment to the North Hykeham Relief Road. I have been pushing hard for this funding, as I know how much of a difference this will make to my constituents – not only those living in North Hykeham, but for all of us who drive regularly in the area.
“This severity of traffic congestion has a huge impact on daily life, making everything that bit more difficult; from picking the kids up from school, to driving to work, to doing a food shop.
“I am grateful to Lincolnshire County Council for their hard work in getting the project shovel-ready, and now that it has government support I look forward to the completion of the road and the easing of the traffic congestion that has plagued North Hykeham for too long.”
It has also been announced by the county council that people can now fully drive around the new A15 Sleaford Road roundabout - the second of four new roundabouts for the Lincoln Eastern Bypass.
Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “Following nearly two months of weekend road closures at Sleaford Road, the newest Lincoln Eastern Bypass roundabout is now officially open for people to drive.
“The main focus now is on finishing the earthworks, kerbing, street lighting and other essential works at Greetwell Road so we can get that roundabout opened up for people to use at the end of November, as planned.
“This will leave just one new roundabout to complete, at Washingborough Road, which we’ll start building early next year.
“Elsewhere across site, things are really moving along. We’ve recently lifted six 250-tonne bridge beams over the River Witham for our new viaduct and will soon be lifting the new Hawthorn Road footbridge into place.”
Although the Sleaford Road roundabout is substantially complete and open to motorists, final surfacing works will need to be undertaken later in the project. Additionally, works are still required on the splitter islands, street lighting, signage and lining.
The Lincoln Eastern Bypass project is part-funded by a £50m Central Government capital grant and aims to minimise traffic congestion, support Lincoln’s growth as a principal urban centre, and enhance the inter-city environment.