The future of the long awaited King’s Dyke Crossing was put on public display at a meeting in Whittlesey
Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Steve Count met with residents at the Christian Church on Broad Street to explain the preferred and possible route’s the project may take after it was announced the authority had parted company with contractor Kier following another increase in costs.
The meeting was very well attended with more than 160 people passing through the doors in the first hour alone.
A delighted Cllr Count said: “I want to take the people who have come here today through the journey of how we got to this stage, and our plans going forward.
“The most important message that I have got to give to them is that we are going to build this bridge.
“When, will depend upon the route that is taken, I have my preferred option and that would be delivered in 2022.
“But I felt it only fair to put the other two options back to the public to decide upon, however they will not be completed before 2026.
“A specially convened Committee meeting will be here at the church this Thursday (15 August), when a decision as to the final route will be made; from there we pass the project back out to tender.”
While most attending were positive the project is going ahead, there were dissenters among the locals.
Jim Adams and his wife live on Peterborough Road with their house being the closest to the actual Network Rail Crossing.
Mr Adams said: “My main concern is that there doesn’t appear to have been any local knowledge used when planning this thing.
“The costs increases have come about because there are structural issues in that area – they want to build the new road right next to an 80-200 foot drop of a sheer clay wall.
“Obviously we live in the fens: they tend to move – what will then keep an elevated road in place?
“I have no real confidence that this is being addressed – they say they’re going to use the same plans, but look for a better contractor.”
Resident Maek Clement who also lives in Peterborough Road, said: “We hear from one planning officer that the road is going to be a 40mph limit, but another tells us it will be 60mph.”
Another resident who lives three doors further up had concerns about traffic and railway noise because all the trees in area that used to act as sound-screening have now been cut down.
Cllr Count promised that these issues and all of their concerns would be looked into. he added: “I’ve looked the people of Whittlesey straight in the eye today and told them that I understand their frustration with this project – but we are moving forward with this.”
The long awaited scheme – originally due to be finished in late 2017/early 2018 – will bring an end to the frustrating delays at the level crossing for motorists travelling between Peterborough and Whittlesey.
However, costs have ballooned from an original budget of £13.6 million to nearly £39 million – an increase labelled as “preposterous” by Metro Mayor James Palmer, and “completely unacceptable” by MP Steven Barclay.
The specially convened committee meeting will meet at Whittlesey Christian Church on Thursday morning from 10:00am – members of the public are welcome and it expected that the Committee will agree the next steps in getting the long delayed bypass built.
Former contractors Keir were approached for a comment about the Kings Dyke Crossing, but at the time of going to press had not responded.