Plans by Tory-run Thurrock Council to widen A13 could go even further over budget

A PLAN to widen the A13 could go further over budget and face more delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new council report has revealed.

The budget for the widening of the A13 between Stanford-le-Hope and the Orsett Cock roundabout ballooned from £79million to £114.67million following a series of problems linked to public safety and inaccurate land studies.

This could now go even higher as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current completion date of between autumn and winter 2021 could also be pushed back.

New details were revealed in a quarterly report that is due to be discussed by the council’s Standards and Audit Committee next week.

It said that there “will be a cost impact from the Covid-19 crisis” but this is difficult to assess as the pandemic is ongoing. Furthermore, the report adds it is likely “there will be further delays” which is also a consequence of the virus but how much of a delay cannot be determined.

The news comes as the council continues to struggle to figure out how to pay off the the funding gap caused by the previous cost overruns. The options being considered include looking for more funding through grants, asking the private sector for contributions or using taxpayers’ cash from the council itself.

Conservative councillor Mark Coxshall, who oversees regeneration, has explained the project is more important than ever as it offers jobs and will ultimately help the economic recovery of south Essex.

But Labour councillor Martin Kerin, who up until recently chaired the council’s regeneration committee, called for Mr Coxshall to resign over what he called “mismanagement” of the project.

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