As the £1.5bn A14 improvements get under way, still no start date for Kings Dyke crossing replacement or Norwood Road bridge improvements

Kings Dyke crossing.

Kings Dyke crossing. - Credit: Archant

Two safety schemes – a £16.9 million replacement crossing at Whittlesey and a £250,000 improvement plan at a bridge in March- have again slipped behind schedule.

What's proposed for Norwood Road, March

What's proposed for Norwood Road, March - Credit: Archant

County council officials blame “access to private land for ground investigations surveys” for delays to Kings Dyke and it will be October 2018 at the earliest before it opens.

In March no refreshed timetable has been given for Norwood Road bridge improvements that county council leader and ward member Steve Count had hoped would have been completed six months ago.

A council spokesman said: “The scheme now needs the final of approval from the wider rail industry, so works can be planned with them, without disrupting any activity in the marshalling yards, which are some of the largest in the UK.”

The improvements include new dual use pedestrian and cycle facilities segregated from the road. The bridge will be traffic light controlled to make life easier for pedestrians and cyclists.

The route chosen bypasses the existing level crossing to the south. It involves the creation of two

The route chosen bypasses the existing level crossing to the south. It involves the creation of two new roundabouts at Funthams Lane and the brickworks access road. In the public consultation, this route was labelled Location 3 and had the support of a majority of respondents (58%) as well as a number of local businesses and Whittlesey Town Council. - Credit: Archant

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Talks to resolve land issues at Whittlesey are reported on monthly to the county council economy and environment committee and the latest shows the earliest date for the scheme to open will be October 2018.

A report to councillors says getting the agreement of private land owners for access “is continuing to cause delays to the completion of the works information.

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“Given the amount of earthworks within the scheme this is critical information for contractors to inform the tendered priced, eliminate risk and provide greater cost certainty.”

The report hints that “legal action to gain entry” would be considered as a last resort.

Officers say the difficulties “have impacted on the programme and the key stages”.

The scheme will create a new 1.1 km road taking the A605 over the railway line via a 32 metre long bridge with a separate cycle and foot path along its entire length.

The A605 carries over 12,000 vehicles a day and is often closed at the level crossing.

Of the Norwood Road delays, Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “We understand the aspirations to make this bridge safer and we are working with the council and other partners to get approval for this scheme as soon as possible.”

Cllr Count added: “I have been campaigning for this much needed improvement for years, this dangerous and narrow stretch of road needs to be made safer to allow everyone to use this major link in the North of March.

“I am glad to see that with funding secured and designs completed, Network Rail is working closely with us to move this much needed scheme forward in early 2017.”

• Fenland Council is paying £800,000 towards the £1.5bn A14 improvements that began this week. It was part of a deal that ensured FDC does not have to contribute to the Kings Dyke scheme.

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