Delays to major roadworks as part of a new development on the outskirts of Exeter have been branded ‘unacceptable’ by a leading councillor.
Devon County Council (DCC) admits the scheme between the junction for Bridge Road and the Devon Hotel is now around eight months behind schedule.
It had originally been due to be completed by the summer, writes Local Democracy Reporter Ollie Heptinstall.
The project forms part of the South West Exeter development, which is expected to deliver 2,500 new homes and also includes 22 hectares of land for employment.
Government funding of £55million has been provided for infrastructure to help unlock the site for housing, including new and upgraded roads and junctions, a pedestrian/cycle bridge, a community building and new public park.
Work started in August last year.
The two junctions currently being built were meant to be completed by April and the summer, but won’t now be ready until December and October respectively.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Alan Connett, opposition leader of DCC and whose Exminster and Haldon constituency spans most of the site, is ‘really cross’ about the delay.
“It should have been on time, then it was going to be a few months late and now it’s eight months late,” said Cllr Connett.
“And on the first summer Saturday the contractors put up temporary traffic lights – the roads are already reduced to one lane – it caused absolute chaos.”
In a statement, DCC recently said the delays were due to ‘a number of uncharted utility services being located on-site’ and that ‘excavation work is also taking longer than expected due to hard ground’.
Cllr Connett added: “That’s caused nothing but laughter and derision from the local communities who say, ‘these are building contractors, this is what they do, this is their meat and drink’ and it’s eight months late.
“County Hall need to get a grip on this contract, thinking about the people who are using the roads and minimising inconvenience.”
A DCC spokesperson said: “We are reviewing this scheme with the contractor and exploring with them where time can be saved on the work programme and where delays can be reduced, while maintaining a safe environment for site staff and the travelling public.
“To minimise disruption, temporary traffic lights will only be used overnight when needed during the summer for the construction of the eastern junction.”