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Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reasons are for (a) the delay to 2015-16 from 2010 of the completion of the A5 to M1 link and (b) the change in the expected cost of the link between September 2005 and February 2007. (127914)

The information is as follows:

(a) The East of England Regional Assembly’s advice accepted by the Secretary of State on the regional funding allocation was for the start of construction of the A5-M1 link to be delayed from 2008-09 to 2013-14. However, I have asked the Highways Agency to continue to progress the orders on a timetable that would keep open the possibilities of building M1 J11a early and accelerating the whole of the link road, should the necessary resources become available at an earlier stage.

(b) The principal reasons for the change in the expected cost of the link between September 2005, based on the outline design, and February 2007, based on the preferred route are additional inflation as a result of the later proposed construction date, and changes resulting from the choice of the northern route as the preferred route. Also, the current estimate has taken into account further work by the contractor on survey, design and buildability.