A160 upgrade work could start before 2015
THE long-awaited A160 upgrade could begin within the next three years – after preliminary work on the scheme was given the go ahead.
Roads Minister Mike Penning announced that funding has been made available for development work on the scheme, which links the A180 with the port of Immingham, the area's oil refineries and Able UK's proposed marine energy park.
The work is expected to include detailed design and order preparation, including compulsory purchase orders and public inquiries.
It means that the scheme is more likely to be given the go ahead by Ministers in the early years of the next spending review period, which begins in mid 2015.
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As reported, fears have been raised previously that the start date for the scheme could be pushed back by three years to 2018 – unless the Government committed to providing funding for this essential preparatory work.
There were also concerns late last year the A160/A180 upgrade had hit the buffers after being omitted from a list of major road projects given the funding go-ahead by the Department for Transport.
The latest development has been welcomed by Neil Etherington, Able UK's Group Development Director, who described it as "very good news indeed" for the area.
He said: "It is a shot in the arm for the increasing number of companies – including ourselves – who are looking to invest on the South Humber Bank."
As reported, covering more than 800 acres, Able Marine Energy Park will involve the construction of more than 1,300 metres of new quays and has the potential to make a huge contribution to establishing the Humber as a world leader in the development of renewable energy technologies.
Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers also said it was a positive step for the Able UK development.
The Conservative MP said: "Obviously I whole-heartedly welcome this funding.
"The Government has given previous assurances on this scheme, but this funding shows a clear intention to bring forward this vital upgrade as part of an early tranche of investments post 2015.
"The important thing has always been that the upgrade of the A160/A180 happens in parallel with, or preferably in advance of, the Able UK development and this shows that the Government has been listening to my representations on this issue."
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Chris Shaw (Lab, Sidney Sussex) said the news could only prove beneficial for the area's job hunters.
He said: "That is really good news for this area and will mean more jobs for North East Lincolnshire.
"The Able development is right next door to North East Lincolnshire and we are fully supportive of it."