Grantham

Grantham bypass will be 25% over budget, public inquiry reveals

The cost of the Grantham Southern Relief Road has risen by more than 25%, today’s public inquiry has revealed.

In evidence from the senior project leader for Lincolnshire County Council Alen Chanamuto, planning inspector Martin Whitehead was told that a financial review had been carried out on the project.

Mr Chanamuto said: “The review showed that estimated overall cost of the GSRR has increased to £102m.”

The cost included £4.4m on phase one, £22.6m on phase two and an estimated £75 million for phase three. This is up from the initial £81m total cost.

An aerial view of the ongoing Grantham Southern Relief Road. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

Mr Chanamuto told the inquiry the authority has made allowances for any adverse effects. “Any delays, the council has stocks it can dip into its budget to meet,” he said.

More than £33 million funding has been secured towards the relief road, including £6 million from Highways England, £16.1 million from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership and £11.9 million Local Transport Board money through Section 106 contributions, future funding bids and other commercial deals negotiated by the council.

During the four hour session experts described benefits to the quality of life for Grantham residents, workers and shoppers by improving the air quality and creating opportunities for healthier lifestyles as well as a reduction in the number of traffic accidents over the next 60 years.

When completed, the project will join the B1174 to the A1 via a grade-separated junction.

The relief road will link the A52 at Somerby Hill to the A1, which should reduce congestion in Grantham town centre.

Planning Inspector Martin Whitehead.

Following the short inquiry today, which had been delayed at the beginning of December, Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “Today’s inquiry went really well and lasted just four and a half hours.

“Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the DfT and Secretary of State to come to an official decision, which we hope will be fairly straightforward since there were no objections in the end.

“The process for this sort of thing can sometimes take several months, but we’ll be pushing for a quicker turn around so we can make a start on the second phase of the relief road early this year.

“In the meantime, we’re working through the procurement process and doing everything else we can to ensure we can break ground as soon as central government gives us the all clear.”

South Kesteven District Council deputy leader Kelham Cooke looked forward to the opportunities the road would bring now it was one step closer – including a reduction of congestion and linking up vital road networks.

He said the effect of the relief road would unlock a huge amount of development.

In the town centre he said: “It will then support the destination of the town and create a much nicer environment place for people to come visit and shop and enjoy the leisure activities that are coming into the town centre.”

SKDC’s plans include work with the Woodlands Trust to bring trees back into the area, further pedestrianisation of the area and bringing together the regeneration of the £1.6 million St Peter’s Hill work and new cinema.

He praised the county council for the work it had done to get the objections withdrawn and said it was a huge relief for the people of Grantham who had been waiting more than 80 years for a bypass.

Last year, it was revealed the Lincoln Eastern Bypass will cost £120 million instead of £99 million and will also be finished in May 2020 instead of December 2019.