Drivers face months more misery as revamp of Peterborough’s Bourges Boulevard hits delays

City centre roadworks EMN-150225-120253009
City centre roadworks EMN-150225-120253009

Motorists face more months of delays on a major road because a huge water pipe has to be moved to allow trees to be planted along the central reservation.

Highly visible signs on Bourges Boulevard inform drivers that the £4.5 million enhancement works will last 45 weeks from May 27 last year - which means motorists could have expected it to be complete by the end of next month.

City centre roadworks EMN-150225-120736009

City centre roadworks EMN-150225-120736009

But highways officials at Peterborough City Council say the sign is a mistake and the revamp has always been expected to take a year to complete.

Either the way, the works are expected to go on well into July.

Andy Tatt, the council’s head of highways service, said: “The Bourges Boulevard scheme is progressing well and so far we have installed new footpath paving, street lighting columns, trees, planters and a pedestrian crossing.

“However, in recent weeks we have encountered an unexpected delay as it is taking longer than expected to move the large water main from the central reservation.

“Anglian Water is working hard to relocate this trunk main, but it is an incredibly complex job due to its size at 18inches wide and 180metres in length and the fact it supplies water for the vast majority of the city.”

A council spokeswoman said the council had asked for the mains to be moved to allow trees to be planted. She said there would be an extra cost but the sum was not known yet.

Antony Innes of Anglian Water said: “We are relocating almost 200 metres of one of our major water mains in Peterborough. We initially expected work to be completed by the end of January.

“Tens of thousands of homes across the city rely on this large, critical pipe and by its very nature moving it is a complex job.

“We have encountered some unforeseen issues such as concrete and other utilities which weren’t known before we started excavating and needed to be navigated.

“This has delayed our progress slightly and as a result we are unfortunately running five weeks behind the target date.

“With such an essential city water main, it’s vital the work we’re carrying out is completed carefully and to our very high standards and future-proofs the pipe to minimise the need for more work at a later date.

“We’re now in the final stage of the project and are due to complete within a fortnight.”

Mohammad Arif, owner of Adams Taxis, in Station Road, Peterborough, said: “These works have been a nightmare for us. It can take an extra 10 to 15 minutes to get in and out of this area. We’ve been dropping passengers for the rail station in Waitrose car park. It’s the only way of making sure they catch their trains on time.”

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: “It’s encouraging that investment continues to be made in Peterborough, with the view of creating a more attractive centre.”