Posted: 11.05.20 at 17:27 by The Editor
THURROCK Council has finally put a figure on the overspend for its A13 road widening project.
Thurrock Nubs News exclusively broke the story in December last year that experts within the council were forecasting the project, originally estimated to cost £79 million, would overrun by £30 million. And we forecast that figure could rise and it has.
Originally the council refused to comment on the matter officially and requests by senior councillors from opposition groups – as well as the wider media – remained unanswered.
Today (Monday, 11 May), in a release stating how important the scheme is to the borough’s economy, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, Cllr Mark Coxshall, has finally put a figure to the latest estimated cost – it has leapt to between £115 and £120 million, at worst an increase of more than 50 per cent on the projected spend.
Nevertheless Cllr Coxshall is upbeat about the scheme and says: “As the country begins a phased return to get back to work, the A13 road widening scheme is more important than ever. It is a key development for the entire South Essex region and will help to provide jobs and new opportunities for Thurrock’s residents, businesses and employers.
“These significant benefits are crucial as our government begins to sketch out the roadmap to ease lockdown measures and reopen society.
“The council and its partners will continue to work hard to make sure construction carries on throughout the coronavirus pandemic, whilst protecting the workforce and the public to ensure this scheme is delivered as quickly as possible to support the recovery of Thurrock and indeed every council along the A13.”
In defence of the overspend – which could yet rise – a council statement says: “The project faced some significant challenges only apparent once construction commenced with a combination of factors including drainage, structures and utilities diversions but the council and its contractors have worked collaboratively to find effective solutions to these issues and it is now forging ahead.”
No timescale is given in the release for completion of the works - which should have been finished in autumn 2020.
Our stories on the A13 overspend saga have included: