Disputed £92m Lincoln Eastern Bypass scheme gets green light

Hawthorn Road Bridge Image copyright Lincolnshire county council
Image caption Lincolnshire County Council hope the new bypass will reduce congestion

A £92m bypass at the centre of two public inquiries has been given the green light by transport bosses.

Lincoln's controversial Eastern Bypass will link the A158 Wragby Road with the A15 Sleaford Road.

Hundreds of people objected to the scheme which would close a route into the city from three villages.

But the Department for Transport has now approved the plans, which Lincolnshire County Council said would reduce congestion.

Work is expected to start in the summer and take two years to complete.

'Cut off'

The multimillion-pound project has been delayed by protests from villagers in Cherry Willingham, Reepham and Fiskerton.

Most of the objections centred on concerns that the five-mile single carriageway would block Hawthorne Road and residents would no longer be able to use it to travel into the city.

The council's previous plans were rejected by the government in 2014 because of safety concerns over a bridge, which has now been redesigned.

Councillor Richard Davies said: "I am glad the inspector saw that not only is the bypass a vital component in our plans to create a fit-for-purpose highways infrastructure for the needs of an expanding Lincoln, but that the changes at Hawthorn Road have been mitigated by the provision of reasonably convenient alternative routes."

Image copyright Google

Analysis: Tim Iredale, BBC Look North political editor

It is a city with a rich history, but if the Romans were to invade modern day Lincoln - they would be advised to avoid rush hour.

Back in the 1980s, transport planners hoped there would one day be a fully circular ring road surrounding the city.

The eastern bypass is the latest piece of that jigsaw, but many will argue this growing city needs further investment in its road network to avoid the misery of gridlock.

It took years of delay and two public inquiries before the project got the go-ahead.

Lincoln's MP Karl McCartney said his long term aim was to ensure the route becomes a dual carriageway.

A second inquiry held in August heard restricted access by some villages would be balanced by its benefits.

The transport authority said it had now reviewed the planning inspector's report and approved the council's plans.

Councillor Ian Fleetwood, who represents Cherry Willingham, said the announcement would be met with disappointment.

"The local people will certainly see themselves being cut off from their preferred route towards [Lincoln]."

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