Wivenhoe’s main access road to shut for several weeks for cycle works

The new cycle path will take riders up to Wivenhoe fire station, close to the junction of Colchester

The new cycle path will take riders up to Wivenhoe fire station, close to the junction of Colchester Road and Vine Drive. - Credit: Clifford Hicks

Concerns have been raised over a lack of communication about the main road into a north Essex town being closed for several weeks.

The B1028 Colchester Road, the major route into and out of Wivenhoe, will be closed from Monday until December 18 while engineers install the long-awaiting cycle path linking the town with the University of Essex.

Work will be halted over Christmas to ease congestion, with work restarting on January 4. The project should be completed by the end of March.

Difficulties obtaining consent and acquiring land for the cycleway, which will run alongside the road, has delayed the project for several years.

However agreement has now been reached with landowners, and an extra £475,000 added to the original £825,000 provided by Essex County Council and the university for the project to widen the scope of the scheme.

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Ian Endean, Wivenhoe mayor, said: “The road closure is a massive concern.

“The whole situation has been dragging on for a long time now, and the communication from Essex County Council has been almost nonexistent. It is disgusting, an absolute nightmare.

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“Some of the alternative routes are very narrow and difficult for a double-decker bus to pass.

“It is good to see an end in sight, and the cycle path is definitely wanted and needed to make the route safer.

“We accept the road will have to be closed for a period of time in order for the work to be done, and accept a diversion – the problem is the lack of communication about where and for how long.”

The path will run from Wivenhoe fire station to the university, and work will now also include new drainage, road re-alignment, resurfacing and crossing facilities.

Rodney Bass, Essex county councillor for infrastructure, said: “I understand and share the frustration of residents that this project has been delayed.

“The route we are now constructing is the preferred choice following consultation and we have needed to ensure all consents are in place to proceed. The scheme has proved to be much more complex with protracted legal issues to be resolved before works could begin.

“However, I am now very pleased to confirm the imminent start with completion scheduled for the end of March 2016.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said more details would be published soon about diversions.

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