Rival action groups, business leaders and politicians have revealed their emotions after the government gave the go-ahead to the Lincoln Eastern Bypass project.
As previously reported, work on the bypass will begin in the next three or four months after the Department for Transport gave the scheme the go-ahead on February 16 following a second public inquiry in August 2015.
The single carriageway road costing an estimated £96 million will run from the roundabout at Wragby Road to a new roundabout at Sleaford Road on the A15.
The Lincoln Bypass Action Group, which has argued that the bypass should be built without any further delay, described the government’s decision as “great news”.
Bob Wilson and Imogen Lemon from the group said: “The outcome of this inquiry was not at all predictable and we hope that the public voice offered in support of the scheme made a difference.
“Although many have understandably called for this scheme to be a dual carriageway, it has been clear for the last year and more that central government was not going to offer any extra money.
“Even though more support from local MPs might have helped, it has been good to see cross party support from both the city and county councils; they truly recognise the economic, social and environmental benefits this road will bring our city.”
Disappointment over Hawthorn Road closure
However, the Hawthorn Road Action Group, which campaigned for a road bridge over the bypass, was not as enthusiastic about the decision.
A statement on the group’s website said: “Unfortunately Hawthorn Road will close in 2017. Needless to say after so much hard work we are very disappointed.
“We had hoped the inspector would find a mechanism for retaining Hawthorn Road and getting on building the bypass but that was not to be.”
Businesses welcome decision
Business leaders have welcomed the decision, revealing their relief that the scheme has been approved following years of delays.
Ursula Lidbetter, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “One of the biggest drawbacks to doing business in our area is the relatively poor road network, and this long overdue scheme is a step forwards in addressing that issue.
“The bypass will also help to alleviate congestion in Lincoln, which is a historic city not designed for the amount of road traffic it has to contend with.”
90 years in the making
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said: “After over 90 years of asking, I am delighted that this vital road link, benefiting the people and businesses of both the city and the whole county, will now finally become a reality.
“It is a landmark decision. Once built we will be asking ourselves why it had not happened earlier – and it was the first issue I continuously promoted on being elected in 2010.
“I still remain concerned that the road will not be dualled and can again assure the people of Lincoln and Lincolnshire that I shall continue to do everything within my power to ensure this.
“Ultimately though any new road is better than no road and so, in the first instance, I am very happy to have at last heard the news that we have waited so long for and I look forward to the work starting.”
Responding immediately to the announcement, Councillor Richard Davies, said: “It’s been a long, drawn out process with its highs and lows but I’m glad that the inspector has approved the project and now we can crack on with building the road.
“We expect the diggers to be on the site in May or June, and it will take a few years to complete, but the benefits to Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire will be tremendous.”