Leeds city council will borrow £26.4m to replace a flyover on the Inner Ring Road if it is unsuccessful in a bid to the DfT’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. The scheme is vital to the council’s objective of removing traffic from City Square in 2023.
The three-span Regent Street flyover was built in the late 1960s and carries the A64(M) Inner Ring Road over the A61 Regent Street to the east of the city centre.
Leeds says the flyover’s load-bearing capacity is deteriorating and the most cost-effective solution is to replace the structure. The cost of designing and implementing the scheme is £31.0m.
The council bid for £20.4m from the DfT’s Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund. Leeds had expected a decision in December but says it is not now expected until the summer.
The council says the delay means it must “proceed at risk”. If the grant bid is unsuccessful, the council will fund the works using £26.4m of borrowing and £4.6m of local transport plan funding.
Leeds says project delivery must proceed “at pace” because it is the first in a number of projects needed to deliver the council’s objective of closing City Square to general through traffic by 2023.
“Over the next five to ten years Leeds city centre will be the focus of major changes through a series of infrastructure investments aimed at betterment and transformation of public transport and public realm,” Martin Farrington, Leeds’ director of city development, told councillors. “The reliability of Regent Street flyover is fundamental to the resilience of the highway network during construction of this extensive programme of works.”
Because of Covid19, Leeds is to tender the scheme with a two-stage phased award. “This will allow a further assessment of where the industry confidence and supply chain capabilities are at the end of stage one (likely to be late June 2020), before awarding the demolition and main works under a second stage to the contract,” said Farrington.
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