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Hochtief roads job hit by delay and cost hike

A major Hochtief roads scheme in Preston has seen costs increase by £8m and is running nearly a year behind schedule, it has emerged.

The Broughton Bypass in Lancashire, which will create a new route from the Broughton roundabout at junction 1 of the M55 to the A6, was originally intended to complete this spring at a cost of £24m.

However, client Lancashire County Council has revealed the project will now complete in early 2018 at a cost of £32m.

It is the second time the completion date on the project has been pushed back, with the council initially announcing that the project’s completion had been rescheduled for August 2017.

The council said “unforeseen cost increases and payments” had led the cost of the job to increase to £32m, with additional funds coming from the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal budget, with other highway improvement schemes amended to meet the shortfall.

The council said a number of factors had contributed to the delay and cost overrun, including:

  • A utility contractor being unable to carry out work on the site as planned
  • The rebuilding of an embankment which collapsed due to extremely wet ground conditions
  • The redesign of drainage to accommodate underground equipment
  • More challenging ground conditions than expected

Construction first began on the 2 km bypass in January 2016.

The council added: “In order to reduce the impact of delays, the county council worked with Hochtief to review the programme and identify any areas of work that could be rescheduled.

“But in some cases work needed to be carried out in a particular order, reducing the opportunities to catch up on the schedule.”

Cabinet member for highways and transport Keith Iddon said: “We share people’s frustrations at these delays and apologise for the disruption it has been causing to people’s homes, businesses and journeys.

“We’re clearly disappointed that there has been a further delay to this scheme, and look forward to seeing the final stages completed.

“We’re working with the contractors, Hochtief, to do everything that we can to minimise the inconvenience while this major build takes place.

“It’s a big challenge to construct a major road such as the bypass, with the A6 carrying a lot of traffic and few options for alternative routes, which would allow us to close roads for longer as part of the work.

“Great progress has already been made and a lot of construction work has been done, which people may not be able to see from the road.”

Hochtief has been contacted for comment.

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