Work to upgrade Monks Cross roundabout – which was supposed to be finished by October 2019 – may not be complete until June 2021.
The 20-month delay is down to problems with buying land in the area.
YorkMix reported that the outer ring road upgrade scheme has been delayed by the discovery of great crested newts – a protected species – which were found on the south west side of the A1237 where work is due to take place.
And City of York Council needs to purchase land to provide a new home for the creatures.
The council has previously said the disruption will not cause any delay to the build or opening date of the new York Stadium. And that any roadworks will be carefully coordinated.
But the council has asked West Yorkshire Combined Authority to approve plans for roadworks at the site to last until June 2021.
A report says they have requested a “change of completion date from October 2019 to June 2021 to enable the acquisition of land in a timely manner”.
Cllr Andy D’Agorne said a 20-month delay to the completion of the roundabout is the “worst-case scenario”.
Negotiations to buy the land we need for the new roundabout layout are proving more difficult than we’d anticipated.
The timetable we gave the combined authority very much represents a worst-case scenario involving compulsory purchase orders [which would enable the council to buy land without the consent of the owner] and related inquiries.
We obviously hope it won’t come to this, and that we can come to an agreement with existing landowners soon and get these huge improvements finished as soon as possible.
The cost of the £3.58m upgrade to the Monks Cross roundabout is not expected to increase as a result of the delay – but the report says “inflationary increases cannot be fully ruled out”.
Cutting journey times
A council report said the local authority needs to purchase nearby land but negotiations with landowners are “time-consuming” and a compulsory purchase order may be needed.
As part of the plans for Monks Cross roundabout, the A1237 entrances will be widened to three lanes and the exits widened to two lanes.
The diameter of the roundabout would be enlarged and the other roads around the junction will be widened.
Under the new timetable, any compulsory purchase orders would be determined by the government by June 2020 and work could start on site in September 2020 – with construction taking 36 weeks.
The outer ring road improvements were expected to make journey times between Wetherby Road and Monks Cross 20 per cent shorter by this year – and ten per cent shorter by 2036, the forecast traffic year that the scheme is designed for – according to the report.
In June it was revealed that the discovery of a possible Iron Age settlement near the outer ring road during the Wetherby Road roundabout upgrade works has pushed the cost of the scheme up by nearly £455,000.
And a report said that work on the next six roundabouts could be “reduced in scale and scope” to keep the project within budget.
Work is still due to go ahead on improvements at Clifton Moor roundabout – after a council meeting heard the results of a public survey on the design of the scheme and recommended some alterations in response to residents’ views.