COUNCILLORS have questioned the reasons behind the delayed opening of the Bognor Regis relief road – with the major road now not expected to be open until March next year.
Arun District Council’s overview select committee grilled leader Gill Brown and cabinet member for planning and infrastructure Ricky Bower over the issue last week.
They were told severe weather had temporarily halted progress but Felpham councillor Paul English questioned why a short delay had contributed to a seven-month setback.
He said: “We’ve had seven weeks of bad weather which has resulted in seven months of delay, which does not equate whatsoever.
“To take that amount of time is a travesty. We are almost at gridlock at weekends.”
Mr England said he had heard the road was due to be completed this summer, but ancillary works were halting the opening.
West Sussex County Council confirmed the expected opening date was March but it was hoped works would be completed sooner.
Arun Liberal Democrats deputy leader Dr James Walsh said: “I was really quite surprised, shocked and worried about the slowing down of the Bognor Regis Relief Road opening until March next year. It looked as though it was on schedule.”
Mr Bower answered the committee’s concerns on behalf of the leader, stating he had spoken to the chief engineer, who was largely happy with the progress of the road.
He said: “It’s mostly due to bad weather. Beams were being put in place by large cranes and it was too dangerous to put some of those in place and that is what caused the delays.
“The chief engineer is content that it is progressing correctly at this stage. He also wanted to put to bed a foul rumour that the viaduct is sinking. It is not.”
Building the road was a condition of permission for building 1,700-plus homes.