THE long-awaited completion of the multi-million pound Brambling Fields slip-road scheme on the A64 at Norton could take until September.
The news was revealed at last Thursday’s Ryedale District Council meeting after Coun Brian Maud, the representative for the Rillington area, said the delayed scheme, which had been due to be finished in June or July, was causing hardship to Norton businesses and others in Castlegate, Malton .
He said: “I have asked why were the times of work restricted. The answer was that working times are affected by the Highways Agency requirements about work on trunk roads and by conditions on the planning permission.”
He questioned whether consideration had been given to the businesses affected by the scheme.
“Or,” he asked, “Was it that those dealing with the planning conditions were blinkered in their thoughts and unaware of how long it could take and what effect their decision would have while access to Norton is closed?”
The vice-chairman of Ryedale District Council, Coun Janet Frank, said: “The Brambling Fields scheme is taking longer than expected. However, the impacts of unprecedented periods of heavy rain on such major earthworks as this, cannot be under-estimated.”
She said the Highways Agency and contractors had told the district council that the work will continue during the school holidays and completion could be as late as the end of September.
Coun Frank said North Yorkshire County Council had imposed conditions on working hours on the scheme but later agreed that weekend working could go ahead.
“All Saturdays and Sundays are now being worked. While an extension of the permitted working hours is likely to have made very little difference to progress during the periods of heavy rain, it is at least arguable that the contractor should have sought to extend and implement working hours at an earlier stage.”
A spokesman for the County Council said: “All works will continue during the school summer holidays. The information supplied by the contractors as of late June was that they expect the junction to be completed and open to traffic by the end of the first week in August.
“Although, it should be noted that intensive rain did continue through early July. However, the weather-sensitive operations at the site are now drawing to a close, with highway drainage being installed alongside highway lighting and kerb lines.”
Planting works won’t go ahead until November, but will not require the closure of the junction.