THE Felpham Relief Road will not be open in time for Christmas, it has been confirmed.
But there has been an assurance that there will be no further delays and the new road will open by early March next year.
The news will disappoint the many residents and business owners who have voiced anger at the level of congestion in Felpham as a result of the delays.
The concerns prompted councillors to last month call for a review to see if the road could open early to avoid a ‘bad Christmas’ for shop owners.
But at a private meeting attended by county and arun district councillors and highways bosses, representatives from Barratt Homes said any shortcuts could ‘jeopardise public safety.’
In minutes, taken by Graham Jones, county councillor for Felpham who chaired the meeting at Edes House, Chichester on Thursday Octovber 1, he said: “Councillors (Paul) English and (David) Edwards did reiterate their concerns and the concerns of the community at how the delays in delivering the project were impacting on the area.
“In doing so they did try to see whether there was in fact any process available that could bring the opening of the relief road forward. “It was clear from the answers given that there were no shortcuts and to follow any route other than the one presented in the schedules would jeopardise public safety and open us all to criticism if anything went wrong.
“In the winding up, councillors, despite being disappointed that the road could not be open earlier were satisfied that WSCC, ADC and Barratt Homes were all working together as a team.
“This became very clear throughout the meeting that there was one common objective and that was the delivery of the road.
“Steve Akehurst (site engineer for Barratt Homes), to his credit and in a display of his commitment to the project did bravely declare that the road would be open early March 2016.
“In doing so he was prepared to put his job on the line, which must surely send out a message.
“In his presentation Steve did mention that this project was one of the most challenging projects he had been involved in throughout his career due to the difficulties encountered building a road and viaduct in difficult circumstances.”
Cllr Jones reported that Mr Akehurst gave the meeting a detailed update, saying the delays had been caused by bad weather and high winds, that the viaduct was near to completion and that problems relating to the access road were being resolved.
The road will link the A259 at Flansham with the A29 Shripney Road and is being built by Barratt Homes as part of the agreement for 700-plus new Felpham homes.
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