July 31 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
County highways chiefs have apologised for failing to reveal the true cost of a £90,000 road hump which has been branded “useless” by people in a west Suffolk town.
The local authority initially said £65,000 had been spent on the platform crossing in Sudbury, which was installed as part of a £450,000 traffic improvement scheme.
But figures just released under a Freedom of Information request show that a total of £88,687 was invested in the traffic calming measure in King Street, including £6,234 for staff costs and £82,453 on construction.
The data also revealed that £127,130 of the £450,000 set aside to help ease the town’s traffic woes has now gone, leaving less than £323,000 in the pot.
The initial figures were presented to Sudbury Steering Group last month after a series of public consultations in the town.
Last night, a spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the increased costs were incurred by carrying out work on the platform at night to avoid upheaval to the town centre, but he admitted the Steering Group should have been given the higher figures.
Peter Gray, deputy chair of Sudbury Town Council’s highways committee, said he was “amazed” that what is “essentially a mound of concrete” could have been so expensive to build.
He said: “The town council originally argued against it but the county was insistent about having it installed and imposed it on us.
“Since then, we have taken a lot of flack because people can’t see that the hump has had any benefit and they wrongly think it was a town council initiative.
“It’s not officially a speed hump or a crossing – I think at best it gives drivers a subconscious clue that they have to be cautious. But no-one can possibly say it is worth £89,000, or that it is good value for money.”
The county council spokesman said it cost more than originally anticipated for additional traffic management arrangements to ease the effect of the works on road users and town centre trade.
He added: “This change meant some work was carried out at night, which naturally costs more. There were other minor changes to the scheme that added to the final costs.
“These measures weren’t part of the original budget but we incurred them in direct response to local concerns, including those of Sudbury Town Council, which were aired at the time.
“An officer error meant that this wasn’t reported to the Sudbury Steering Group last month, which it should have been. We apologise for this.”