Council confident Lincoln Eastern Bypass will withstand public inquiry

With a second public inquiry into the planned Lincoln Eastern bypass due to begin next week, Lincolnshire County Council say adjustments made to the proposals should dispel previous concerns.

The Department for Transport (DfT) will be considering plans for Lincoln’s Eastern Bypass from Tuesday, August 11, after the county council revised their plans for the £100 million scheme.

The inquiry will consider the cases for and against the legal orders (Compulsory Purchase and Side Roads Orders) that are needed for the project to proceed.

It will start at 10am at the Doubletree by Hilton in Lincoln and is expected to last two weeks.

The revised design for the Hawthorn Road bridge over the Lincoln Eastern Bypass. Image: LCC

The revised design for the Hawthorn Road bridge over the Lincoln Eastern Bypass. Image: LCC

Planning permission for the scheme was granted in June 2013, however in July 2014 the DfT rejected Lincolnshire County Council’s plans following a public inquiry because of safety concerns relating to a small junction connecting Hawthorn Road to a footbridge spanning the bypass.

As a result, the cycle and foot bridge has now been re-located, and the new design was approved following consultation with the affected parish councils.

The planning process has proved controversial with many residents campaigning against the planned closure of Hawthorn Road.

A number of objectors submitted six alternative proposals, which will also be considered by the inspector at the forthcoming inquiry.

A petition was launched also calling for the proposed bypass to be moved forward without further delay.

Richard Davies, executive councillor for Highways and Transport at Lincolnshire Council Council

Richard Davies, executive councillor for Highways and Transport at Lincolnshire Council Council

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We have adjusted our designs so there is now a pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian bridge to the south of Hawthorn Road and we have also moved the crossing point on Hawthorn Road to the east, so residents are crossing the road further away from the bypass.

“I am confident that these changes will dispel the inspector’s concerns and hopefully we will be granted the necessary orders so we can move forward, bring in the diggers and make a start on this much-needed bypass as soon as possible without further, unnecessary, expense or delay.”

A spokesperson from the Hawthorn Road Action Group added: “We fully support the principle of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass but have been campaigning for a road bridge to carry Hawthorn Road over the bypass.

“This has huge public support and will avoid severing this vital link between the villages and Lincoln which would force traffic onto unsuitable alternative routes such as Greetwell Road, Kennel Lane and the A158 which suffer from traffic issues in summer and are viewed as unsafe by residents in winter.

“We have spent the last few months looking in detail at some of the technical aspects of the new traffic forecasts and engineering behind the Lincoln Eastern Bypass in far more depth than was possible at the last Public Inquiry. We are looking forward to presenting our evidence at the Inquiry.”

If approved, the Lincoln Eastern Bypass would run from the roundabout at Wragby Road to a new roundabout at Sleaford Road on the A15.

The council hopes that the required orders will be granted enabling work to start on the bypass early next year.