Preston’s £32m Broughton Bypass has opened after months of delay and cost overruns.
The bypass was officially opened by Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry on Thursday 5 October, around six months after the scheme’s originally-intended completion date.
The 1.25 mile road, which links Broughton with the M55, was backed by the Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal.
The completion of the bypass is predicted to reduce the number of vehicles travelling through Broughton village by up to 90% and improve journey times in and out of Preston.
Construction work began on the scheme in January 2016. The project’s original completion date was spring 2017, but this was pushed back to August 2017 in early 2017. This date was then delayed again to spring 2018 in July this year.
Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership and contractor Hochtief had programmed in additional time to complete the project, but noted this summer that “good progress” had been made in the summer “thanks to the number of construction staff on site and good weather”, allowing the bypass to open ahead of its spring schedule.
The project had also reported a hike in cost with its initial value of £24m rising to £32m due to “unforeseen costs increases and payments”, with reasons for the cost increase including the redesign of drainage, challenging ground conditions, and the collapse of an embankment.
Cllr Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire Council, said: “This is a big day in the history of the village of Broughton, as well as for the city of Preston.
“We’re well aware of the delays that people have experienced over the years and the vital need for this new road.
“The bypass will bring much-needed congestion relief to the village itself and the wider area. Broughton crossroads have been a longstanding congestion hotspot for commuters and local users, adding to journey times and air quality problems due to standing traffic.
Hochtief project manager Matt Mosley said: “The Hochtief team has worked hard to complete this project at the earliest opportunity, given the unforeseen issues encountered on this build-only contract.
“The collaborative approach we’ve developed with Lancashire County Council’s project team from the outset has enabled issues to be resolved promptly to achieve an earlier completion date than expected.
“We thank the local community and road users for their patience while the bypass work has taken place.”