REVEALED: The cost of dropped northern and southern A27 bypass options for Chichester
And two northern route options that were being considered would have cost an estimated £307m and £332m respectively.
The staggering sums of money are official figures from Highways England, released this week in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
It appears the high cost of building a new road, either to the north or south of the current A27, would have been over the available budget and were therefore discounted as ‘not viable’.
As revealed by the Observer, seven options were being considered when the scheme restarted in 2013; four to upgrade the existing stretch, two northern options for a new road between Chichester and Lavant (Options 4 & 5), and one part southern option to deviate from the current road at Runcton, go through Drayton and Oving and join the road again at Tangmere (Option 6).
Figures revealed in the FOI on Wednesday, May 11, said:
Option 4 is estimated to cost £332.1m and take 24 months to construct.
Option 5 is estimated to cost £307.8m and take 24 months to construct.
Option 6 is estimated to cost £583.2m and take 36 months to construct.
And the response also reveals that options for a new northern bypass, which had previously been dropped in 2005, were suddenly put back on the table in because of a ‘strong public opinion for this at the time’.
The FOI response, which comes from Anthea Banks at Highways England, also said: “Prior to the scheme being put on hold in 2010, there was an earlier public consultation.
“When the scheme was restarted in 2013 a scoping exercise was carried out, during which the original consultation report was revisited.
“The report recommended that any future work should include the assessment of a route to the north of Chichester, since there was a strong public opinion for this at the time.
“Highways England therefore had to carry out work on this option in addition to the other options that were being explored so that we had an appropriate level of analysis and evidence about the costs, impacts and benefits of an off line option.”
She added: “When we had developed the costs for the northern (and southern) bypass options, and after consideration of the criteria in the Roads Investment Strategy and the available budget, we discounted these options as not viable.”
The latest Government estimated budget for the Chichester A27 scheme is given as between £122m - £181m.
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