Cost of city centre road scheme soars to £220m - but is ‘still on track’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
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The LONG-AWAITED scheme to upgrade the main road to Hull docks has soared another £20m - but is still on track, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has told a local delegation.

Mr Grayling met Hull and Hessle MP Alan Johnson along with the city council’s transport portfolio holder Martin Mancey to discuss the A63 Castle Street scheme.

Coun Mancey said they had been assured that despite costs soaring to around £220m, work would begin at the end of 2018, as they had been previously promised.

The development consent order - the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects - will be published in June.

The scheme has been so long in coming that many Hull residents despair of it ever happening. However Coun Mancey said: “They do say costs have increased and they are looking to find some economies, but basically there was no suggestion that the scheme wasn’t going to proceed.”

A new £11m footbridge will be built as part of the main contract, not separately.

Coun Mancey said he couldn’t comment on the likelihood of the scheme actually being built, as it is the responsibility of Highways England. He said: “I did ask if Highways England would be prepared to identify a spokesperson who could deal with media inquiries in future, because it in the public interest that the public know who is responsible for delivering the scheme and there may be some confusion if the city council continues to front questions from the media.”

A major obstacle had been forecasts suggesting levels of pollution would rise as more vehicles with dirty diesel engines would use the road. However new computer models suggest it will not be a problem with the introduction of cleaner, low emission vehicles by the time the scheme is completed in 2021/2022.