Botched A13 work won't cost taxpayers says council - but still no explanation why there have been so many major closures

  Posted: 04.10.21 at 19:47 by The Editor

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DODGY work on the A13 widening project will be fixed at no additional cost to Thurrock council tax payers.

That’s the message from Thurrock Council in the wake of much public comment over a series of incidents where workers on the much-delayed and over budget project have been seen demolishing or ripping apart work they have previously done.

Last week large sections of a concrete safety barrier were demolished by machinery and a team or workers. It follows on from large swatches of concreted verges being jackhammered to bits and then relaid just days after being laid.

Thurrock Nub News contacted contractors Kier Construction about the incidents last week but we were told they could not comment as all media enquiries about the project had to be handled by Thurrock Council.

Today (Monday, 4 October) we received the following response from the council: “An isolated section of highway barrier was identified as failing to comply with highways standards. The project team has worked quickly and collaboratively to identify a suitable solution to replace the item.

“The barrier is located in a closed section of the new road and therefore the public were not exposed to additional risk at any time.

12 A13 closures over two years was the promise from Kier. There is no explanation why that figure was so wrong!

“The work to replace the barrier is being completed without additional closures of the A13 so there is no impact on road users. The remaining works in the area have been re-sequenced to minimise any delays to the overall construction programme.

“The council is committed to ensuring that all work is delivered to the correct standards before it is signed off and accepted.

“In the context of the wider positive progress made this isolated issue does not change the overall forecast cost of the project and hence will not create any additional cost for Thurrock’s council tax payers.

However, the council has remained tight-lipped despite several requests from Nub News to answer other questions about the A13 project, most notably the lengthy delays in completion and how many promises made by Kier appear to have been broken.

We asked, on behalf of residents who had contacted us after being so badly affected by the A13 road closures over the past 30 months, Kier appear to have been so far out with the number of full A13 closures during the project to date, with more to follow.

When the scheme was first mooted it was suggested the total number of full closures (ie in both directions at the same time) would be 12 - or possibly less.

This number has already been significantly passed. The road was closed, for example, all last weekend between the Manorway and Orsett Cock roundabouts – and it will be closed again next weekend.

We asked the council (and Kier): “Does the council have any explanation why this figure is so wrong - and why the public in the area appear to have been so significantly misled?

“Will Kier face any financial penalty for getting this so wrong? Or make any compensatory payment to the borough for the inconvenience.”

The questions remain unanswered.

Last week Nub News also revealed that, contrary to previous public statements, works will not be completed by the year end as promised, but will run into January at the very least.

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