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New mile-long road to cost £147m

Wednesday, 27 March 2024 07:00

By Charlie Smith - Local Democracy Reporter

A new mile-long dual carriageway in Aylesbury will cost £147 million to build, Buckinghamshire Council has said.

Cabinet members have agreed to spend an additional £33 million on the South East Aylesbury Link Road (SEALR).

This is on top of the previous budget of £114 million for the road, which is set to open by the end of 2026.

As well as increasing the SEALR budget, cabinet members also approved reducing the budget for the Woodlands development east of Aylesbury and the Eastern Link Road South.

The costs of SEALR have risen in part due to inflation in the construction industry, while delays from the Covid-19 pandemic have also played a part.

Ground conditions of the site also need to be improved, the council said in an update on the road on Monday.

Council leader Martin Tett said: “The South East Aylesbury Link Road is of massive importance within Aylesbury.

“It has been a personal top priority for me for a number of years. It is a major council priority. It is incredibly difficult.

“For something that is so short it is the most massive cost and complexity of project imaginable.”

The SEALR will join the A413 Wendover Road with the B4443 Lower Road and the Stoke Mandeville Relief Road – currently under construction by HS2.

The 1.1 mile (1.7 kilometre) dual carriageway will be connected by three roundabouts to form a key part of the Aylesbury Orbital Link Road.

The road is being built in two phases – the second of which will be completed by December 2024 and the first in 2026.

Cllr Tett claimed the road will help reduce congestion in Aylesbury, which is growing in size – with more than 16,000 homes planned – and frequently experiences bad traffic jams.

He said: “Anyone who drives into Aylesbury regularly, as I do, will know that in the morning and evening it is horrendous to get in and out of Aylesbury.

“Every road virtually leads to the centre of the town and out again. This road will enable lots of the through traffic in particular to bypass the town centre.”

Funding for SEALR comes from several sources, including the council, HS2, the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Department for Transport, Homes England and section 106 contributions.

The cabinet member for transport Cllr Steve Broadbent said: “We have now done an awful lot of work to make sure that costings are right and have reflected programme risks and inflationary costs.”

Cllr Broadbent admitted there had been several “difficulties” with the project, such as taking possession of the railway line to build a bridge and relocating Thames Water mains.

He added: “None of that is simple, nor is it cheap to do.”

Some costs that were in the first phase of SEALR have also been reallocated into the second phase of the project.

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