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Investigation set to be launched into handling of Sadlers Farm
9:00am Thursday 7th February 2013 in Southend
AN INVESTIGATION will be launched into the handling of the £63million Sadlers Farm roadworks scheme.
Essex County Council has announced it will be carrying out an internal review of the multi-million-pound project once it is finished to assess where improvements could have been made along the way.
This comes after news the roadworks, which are running 11 months behind schedule, may not be fully completed for another three weeks after contractors Birse missed another deadline to finish the junction.
It is the fifth deadline that has been missed since the project started in August 2010.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “We will be reviewing this scheme to see what improvements could be made on future projects. There will also be an audit period once the scheme has been completed, consistent with all major projects of this size.”
The Echo asked the council whether they will be seeking any financial compensation for the delays, or imposing any fines on the company.
The council did not clarify but confirmed they intend to hold “contractual discussions” with Birse once the scheme is completed.
However, doubts have been cast over whether the review will have any positive impact on future schemes.
Keith Barber, of Clinton Road, Canvey, said: “I know the council will probably want to be seen as doing something about how it has all gone, but I’m not sure what will be gained from this review.
“I don’t think they will learn anything from this, as they haven’t learnt lessons from other roadworks. I mean how many times have they changed Tarpots? You used to have traffic lights there years ago which didn’t work, which is why they installed the mini roundabouts. Then they put the traffic lights back, it just didn’t make sense.”
The Sadlers Farm revamp was due to start in April 2010 but was delayed until August 2010 because of problems with the funding from the Department for Transport meaning the original deadline of March 2012 was pushed back to the end of May 2012.
Heavy snow was blamed for contractors missing the May deadline, meaning work ran into the summer where two further deadlines were missed last year.
The work ceased during the Olympics which meant contractors were set a final completion date of January 31 2013 which was missed last week.
The council spokeswoman added: “It should be noted that ECC has a very good record for delivering major transport schemes on time and on budget. Recent examples of this include A12 junction 28 in Colchester, junction improvements on the A414 in Harlow, two park and ride schemes in Chelmsford and access improvements at Witham and Braintree Freeport stations.
“It should also be noted that Sadlers Farm is one of Essex’s largest transport infrastructure schemes in three decades, and we are pleased with the way it has been operating since last summer.”
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