North East link road exceeds £15 million

02/12/2011

The cost to build a link road in the North East has exceeded £15 million after compensation was paid out to local residents.

The local residents have successfully complained about how close the busy road runs to their houses as well as the significant increase in noise this has created.

The road, known as the Eastern Transport Corridor, is one of nine capital projects identified as a red triangle by the Darlington Borough Council as a result of how far over the allotted budget it has gone.

The Eastern Transport Corridor road is 1.8 miles in length and links Darlington town centre to the A66, bypassing Haughton. When the project was first announced in 2000 it was expected to cost £5.7 million. Following the compensation requests from residents living near to the road, the overall cost of the project has risen to £15,081,709.

Delays in the initial construction of the project meant the projected cost was £12.5 million when it was given government funding in 2006.

Despite the road opening in 2008, the cost of the project has continued to rise following the number of compensation applications by residents living close by to the road.

A report to the council’s cabinet meeting said the overall cost of the project would not be finalised until all the claims were agreed. It said some claims were “still trickling in”.

Despite the financial failings of the project, the Eastern Transport Corridor has succeeded in achieving one its main goals. This was to help ease and reduce traffic flow through Haughton Village.

The road was identified as a red triangle capital project because its costs had risen above budget by more than £50,000 during the past quarter.

Others are more than five per cent above approved budget at an extra cost of between £5,000 and £50,000.

Similarly, there are nine green star projects, where costs had fallen by the same amount and costs on a further 54 lay between the two indicators. Overall costs during the past quarter had risen by £207,582 on a total budget of £76.3m.

Other projects which have run significantly over budget include three sets of road works and replacement of the council’s computing facilities at the town hall as well as the North Road Primary School, which was now £300,000 more than budget because of issues with contaminated land, design changes, omissions or client requests, and Harrowgate Hill Primary School, which was £110,000 over budget because of tender prices.

A council spokeswoman said: “As with any large organisation, we run a huge number of projects and as part of our capital project management processes it is important that we regularly review and monitor performance.

“The majority of projects are on or ahead of target.

“There are 72 projects, with an overall value of £76.6m, which are running to time and cost.

“This investment is delivering a wide range of improvements to the council’s assets and council services including refurbishment of council homes, improvements to schools, better traffic flow and opportunities for sustainable travel.”