Blow to motorists as road opening delayed

COUNCILLORS have voiced disappointment over delays meaning a major new road is not due to open until December

Congestion is set to become a more regular frustration around the Bognor Regis area for the rest of this year.

The latest opening date of the Felpham section of the new relief road has been put back from this summer to December.

The blow to drivers means occupiers of the 1,700-plus new homes around the area which are still being built, are joining existing residents on the current roads.

Felpham’s county councillor, Graham Jones, said: “It’s disappointing there has been a further delay. We want to see this relief road completed as soon as possible because the roads are getting busier. But, as with all civil engineering projects, there are all sorts of delays.

“I want to see this section of the relief road finished 
so we get the full benefit of the road. At the moment, we are only getting half the benefit with just the Bersted section open.”

County councillor Francis Oppler (LD, Bognor Regis E) said the latest setback in the road’s opening would cause extensive traffic delays around Felpham and eastern Bognor during the summer.

“The traffic congestion around Felpham, Hotham Park and Butlin’s has become worse and worse. Even at this time of year, I have noticed the severity of the jams.

“Who knows how bad it 
will be in the summer? We could be in for a season of traffic congestion.

“The sooner that road 
opens the better. It is desperately needed. People are moving into both new estates and having to use the existing roads.

A county council spokesman said the viaduct was going to take longer than expected to complete.

“The road, including the viaduct, will be complete and open to traffic at the end of this year,” he said.

“The delay has been down to lost time caused by the cranes not being able to operate during windy periods between October and December.

“When the wind speed exceeded a certain level, the cranes were not able to lift the concrete beams into place on the viaduct structure for health and safety reasons, particularly in view of the close proximity of the 
railway line.

“This is a common problem when building such large structures and nothing out of the ordinary, but in reality it is difficult to predict in terms of a timeframe.”

One of the cranes used 
was a 350-ton crawler crane used to put the beams into place to support the viaduct which will be the road’s central feature.

It will be held up by 
179 beams and will stretch for half a kilometre and 
rise 8m above the railway line to Bognor.

Building the relief road was a condition on the developers for the permission they received for the housing.