There will be no bypass funding say councillors
COUNCILLORS have accused the county council of pursuing an impossible dream by pushing ahead with Ely s Southern Bypass. They are relying on the Government coming up with the cash for the new road, even though the cost will almost double by the earliest
COUNCILLORS have accused the county council of pursuing an "impossible dream" by pushing ahead with Ely's Southern Bypass.
They are relying on the Government coming up with the cash for the new road, even though the cost will almost double by the earliest possible start date, anti-bypass, campaigners claim.
The attack came from the Liberal Democrats who say they are being stone-walled in their fight to get alternatives to the bypass investigated.
"I think that the county council cabinet recognises that this is an impossible dream that they won't get funding for, but they can't quite recognise that the world has changed and that there are innovative alternatives," said Ely East Liberal Democrat Cllr Nigel Bell. "They have their mindset on road building.
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"We keep asking them to look at the alternatives but we just keep getting negative replies. We are being stone-walled and every suggestion is met with a range of excuses."
But Haddenham's Tory county councillor, Bill Hunt, has hit back saying they don't want a "second class solution for a first class city".
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"We don't want a sticking plaster job," he said. "Bodging this just won't work. The alternatives have been looked at extensively by the experts and they are expensive and not worth the money."
The bypass battle reared up again on Monday when councillors met for an update on the latest funding situation.
Members of the East Cambridgeshire Traffic Management Area Joint Committee were asked to reject alternatives to the bypass in favour of pushing ahead with the road scheme. But the recommendation was rejected by six votes to three.
If funding is secured for the £16 million road, which would run from the A142 Angel Drove roundabout eastwards to the A142 Stuntney Causeway, building will not to start until 2015, by which time it would be expected to cost £27 million.
The Government called for the low cost alternatives to be investigated and four options were considered including lowering the road under the rail bridge, constructing a new bridge and widening the existing level crossing.
Cambridgeshire County Council's head of major transport infrastructure delivery, Philip Crack, said: "If someone can come up with a viable and feasible alternative to the bypass then we will investigate it.