It has been announced by the Chancellor George Osbourne today, as part of his autumn statement, that the Lincoln Eastern Bypass (LEB) is one of 35 infrastructure projects around the country set to receive funding.
A ‘best and final’ bid for £50m, towards the expected £98m cost of the LEB, was submitted by Lincolnshire County Council to the Department for Transport (DfT) on 9 September.
Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, Councillor William Webb, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news from the Chancellor. Our hopes and aspirations have finally been confirmed and so much hard work has been carried out with our partner authorities to try and bring the bypass to fruition. We have been working towards this for almost 20 years and it’s wonderful that we can start taking the final steps needed to make the bypass a reality.
“The announcement means that we have the additional £50m that is needed and that we have ‘conditional approval’ for the bypass. We look forward to seeing the full details, so we can start carrying out the additional work required to fulfil these conditions and understand the government’s funding timescale. It is possible that construction could start as soon as 2014.”
The Lincoln Eastern Bypass was identified as the best solution to improve traffic flow in the city and it will have tremendous positive economic benefits for the county and East Midlands as a whole.
A bid for funding successfully made it through an initial ‘expression of interest’ stage in February. Lincolnshire County Council is making a contribution of £14m and, following an Executive meeting on 15 August, is acting as ‘guarantor’ to underwrite the £34m third party funded element. This meant that if the bid was successful, construction could start far sooner, without the authority needing to wait for details of the developer contributions.
Councillor Webb added: “The county council had already agreed this summer to guarantee the outstanding balance in the short term, so we could move forward more quickly. Today’s announcement by government confirms we are now in an excellent position to do this.
“We are of course still working towards solutions to improve the highways in other parts of Lincolnshire as well.”
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