Release date: 1 June 2021
Progress continues to be made in the major improvement project to widen a total of about 2km of single carriageway to dual carriageway on the A259 in Angmering and Littlehampton. However, the impact of Covid-19 crisis has slowed that progress and the project is now forecast to be completed in the winter of 2022, rather than the autumn.
Works were progressing well since starting in mid-2020, with site clearance, archaeological surveys, drainage works, and preparatory earthworks. Utility companies have also been busy diverting their equipment to make room for the road widening.
However, progress has now slowed, particularly at the Angmering end of the scheme. The main reason is that UK Power Networks is required to remove and replace a high-voltage electricity cable so the works can proceed.
This is a substantial piece of infrastructure, costing around £2million to move. However, during the Covid-19 crisis, UK Power Networks had to refocus its workforce to deal with the national emergency and work related to the pandemic, such as getting supplies to testing centres, Nightingale hospitals and so on.
A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “This unprecedented situation meant, understandably, they could not meet the demands of our programme.
“However, we have actively been working with UK Power Networks and our principal contractor, Volker Fitzpatrick, in re-planning the works to try to reduce the impact of this problem. By working together, we have been able to reduce the delay to four months, resulting in a revised estimated completion in the winter of 2022. As with all construction projects, this is still subject to unforeseen factors, such as prolonged, extreme weather.
“We will continue to seek opportunities to further reduce the delay. We would also like to thank the public for their patience while the works are ongoing.
“Once completed, the improvements will reduce traffic congestion by increasing road capacity and so cut both journey times and pollution.”
A spokesperson for UK Power Networks said: “We share the council’s desire for this project to progress quickly and continue to work closely with our customer to complete this work as quickly as possible. We have appointed two contractors to accelerate our work and aim to complete the essential work on the cable diversion in September 2021. We plan to complete the remaining work after this, but this should not have any further impact on the construction of the dual carriageway.”
More details about the A259 major improvement scheme can be found on the County Council’s website.