Are Highways England two years behind schedule?
Leaked information suggests huge delay in Highways England project
Information shared with the Save Rimrose Valley campaign indicates that Highways England is almost two years behind schedule in its plans to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley Country Park.
The hugely unpopular scheme was announced as the preferred option in 2017, despite the majority of public opinion being against this route and others calling for better options to be explored in Highways England’s first round of consultation .
The new information suggests that:
Kier Group has been appointed as the sub-contractor to lead the scheme and has been tasked with developing ‘a more sympathetic design'
’Information events’ are planned by H.E. for summer of this year
Ground investigation works on Rimrose Valley are planned for summer of this year
The Statutory Consultation, the next key milestone in the planning process, will not take place until December, 2019 or January, 2020
Construction would not commence until 2022; two years later than planned
Speaking about the latest developments, Stuart Bennett of the Save Rimrose Valley Campaign said:
“This information is from a trusted source and, if correct, indicates just how far behind schedule Highways England is. A two year delay is significant and may even put funding for the project at risk.
“An immediate concern is that Kier Group, which is known to be struggling , has been given responsibility for such an important project. Has this Government learned no lessons from the Carillion episode and the mess it created at the Royal Liverpool Hospital? 
“Furthermore, we are led to believe that ‘a more sympathetic design’ will be mere window dressing and that a tunnel is still not an option. This is pointless and doesn’t alter the fact that any surface road through Rimrose Valley simply destroys it.
“If correct, a Statutory Consultation in December or January is completely unacceptable. People will be preoccupied with Christmas, New Year and their priority, quite rightly, will be valuable family time. If this comes to pass, we will be calling on Sefton Council to reject these dates and demand a schedule that enables a larger turnout. We will be out in force for any information events H.E. may hold this summer; repeating calls for a better solution for the people of South Sefton.
“We need the Government to go back to the drawing board and to look at this whole problem again. In our own, ongoing consultation , almost two thirds of participants have opted for a non-road solution. Claiming that a road – either over or underground – is the ONLY solution is an insult to our intelligence. Proper investment would open up more possibilities, including shifting freight to rail.
“In the meantime, we ask that everyone remain vigilant and flags any ground work if and when it commences, which appears as if it could be any day. We intend to protest and will be sharing details of this via our social media channels at the time.”
 The proposed road through Rimrose Valley Country Park is an upgrade to the current A5036 Liverpool Port Access Road. Highways England wants to build this road after a consultation where it offered only two options, both of which were unpalatable to the local community and in fact weren’t any choice at all. Option B (RimroseValley) was the least favoured. Summary of results here:
 Link to story on current plight of Kier Group:
 Article on structural flaws at Royal Liverpool Hospital requiring correction after Carillion’s collapse
 Running totals of our own consultation in which we offer a tunnel and a multi-modal solution: