Works on building a bypass to replace the King’s Dyke level crossing in Whittlesey are due to start later this year.
With negotiations with land owners progressing and agreements nearing completion on the final stages of land deals, it is intended to begin works in late autumn 2018.
Before then ground investigations involving bore holes, trial pits and topographical surveys are due to take place week in the commencing February 19.
The existing level crossing has long been a local issue due to downtime of the barriers and the subsequent delays caused to traffic travelling between Whittlesey and Peterborough.
Future plans by the rail industry to increase trains along the route will further increase delays.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s economy and environment committee approved plans to replace the congested Kings Dyke level crossing in 2015 to reduce these delays and improve safety.
Kier has been appointed as the contractor to carry out the detailed engineering design of the £17 million scheme and is expecting to progress onto construction.
The ground investigations works planned for mid-February will help Kier to finalise the road construction design. The scheme requires significant earthworks, ground stabilisation and a bridge to be constructed over the railway line which can only be closed for very short periods of time.
Therefore the process needs careful design and planning with survey work being carried out on-site in both the existing highway and along the proposed route.
The county council is also working very closely with current land owners to reach a conclusion on specific land and access requirements and this should be finalised by the end of February. This will ensure that the contractor can finalise the design in preparation for approval in June 2018.
Whittlesey South councillor David Connor, who is also chairman of the planning committee said: “Developing major road projects of this kind through land that has prized mineral extraction areas is complex.
“They require planning and land acquisition and as such can pose many challenges for the county council when programming works.
“As part of the scheme two tunnels are to be built to allow access for future potential mineral extraction from land nearby. These are large structures and have involved some careful design consideration to ensure suitable access is given without compromising the agreed planning requirements for the scheme.
“We are now through the most challenging stages involving land and engineering requirements and are well placed for the scheme to commence works in autumn 2018.”
The route chosen for the new single carriageway road bypasses the existing level crossing to the south. It will involve the creation of two new roundabouts at Funthams Lane and the brickworks access road.
The scheme has wide local support with residents as well as a number of local businesses and Whittlesey Town Council and sits within the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority approved list of schemes to be completed.