Proposed road could lose taxpayers 16p on every £1 spent, analysis suggests

A key infrastructure project in North Yorkshire is set to become even worse value for taxpayers, new analysis has suggested.

Research by the Northern Policy Foundation think tank found that recent delays to the proposed upgrade to the A66 are set to see costs further spiral as questions remain over its future.

Work on the 16-mile stretch on the road, which has gained a reputation for tailbacks and a poor safety record, began in 2017 with construction meant to begin next year.

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Government analysis of the project last year found that it represented poor value for taxpayers, with a forecast of only 90p per £1 spent, with reported costs rising by as much as £500m to a total of £1.5 billion.

The A66 in the snowThe A66 in the snow
The A66 in the snow

Construction company Costain last month left the project, with analysis by the northern think tank suggesting that this could add 6 per cent to the project’s costs and reduce its net benefits by 3 per cent.

This would mean the taxpayer would lose out on the equivalent of 16p for every pound spent.

Tom Lees, Director of the Northern Policy Foundation said: “With only three of 22 DfT projects given the green light by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the department and its arms length bodies do not seem fit for purpose when it comes to delivery.

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“Sadly the issues the A66 is experiencing - significant cost increases, poor value for money and likely missed delivery programmes - are all too common and add to a long list of problematic projects.

“Our modelling shows that with the removal of Costain from the project could lead to further budget increases and even poorer value for money to Northern taxpayers and residents.”

The Department for Transport said it had no updates on the future of the project after roads minister Richard Holden told MPs that the department was still waiting for assessments from National Highways.

Mr Holden said: “National Highways is developing the Full Business Case for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, which will confirm the Benefit-Cost Ratio and Value for Money assessment.

“Once complete, this will be assessed, and any decision is contingent on the final planning decision.”