COUNCIL chiefs are to meet Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to press for work to begin on one of the city’s busiest roads in 2018 as promised.
Coun Martin Mancey, Hull Council’s transport portfolio holder, said a commitment to the upgrade of the A63 Castle Street and a new £11m footbridge would show that the Government was serious about the Northern Powerhouse.
The scheme has been so long in coming that many locally despair of it ever happening.
However Coun Mancey said he and Alan Johnson MP and officers would be meeting Mr Grayling in mid December to seek reassurances that there would be no further slippages.
He said: “The understanding we had with (his predecessor) Patrick McLoughlin was that the bridge and the road improvement would start in 2018.
“If for any reason the main scheme couldn’t start in 2018 then the bridge would be separated out and that would start in 2018 with the rest of the scheme to start thereafter.”
One of the main obstacles to the scheme was forecasts suggesting levels of pollutants would rise as more vehicles with dirty diesel engines would use the road.
However new computer modelling suggested it wouldn’t be a problem with the introduction of cleaner, low emission vehicles.
“They now believe that by the time the scheme will be completed 2021/2022 at the earliest, air quality will no longer be a constraint,” said Coun Mancey.
He added: “I can understand the pessimism felt by the public at large because this has been talked about for years - they (Highways England) have gone public and suggested start dates and completion dates and they have slipped over time.
“The main road scheme is very much part of the Government’s commitment to improving connectivity between Hull and Liverpool as part of the Northern Powerhouse.
“Getting it up and running is a clear demonstration of a committment to that Transport for the North, Northern Powerhouse agenda.
“Conversely failure to follow through wouldn’t bode well for the whole of the Transport for the North agenda.”