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Pitsea Flyover...7 years of despair and £12m repair bill
IT was a project that began almost seven years ago and was meant to bring to an end the safety fears about Pitsea flyover.
But despite undergoing endless repairs costing an estimated £12million, the project is still not complete.
The flyover is now in its sixth phase of work, with another planned later this year. The problem facing engineers in 2004 came from water and road salt used on the A13 in winter, which seeped through and corroded the flyover, putting safety at risk.
A two-phase, £8.4million programme was designed to tackle the leaks and strengthen the sides and columns under the flyover.
There now seems to be no end in sight for the “temporary” repairs to the flyover and their spiralling cost, and the Echo has also discovered the flyover is still leaking.
The Echo met Basildon Labour councillor Keith Bobbin underneath the flyover and saw evidence of water still seeping through.
He said: “It is beyond a joke how much money is being spent on the flyover and we don’t seem to be getting it done.”
In September 2007, while he was a county councillor, Mr Bobbin discovered highways engineers had planned the early stages of the work using the wrong plans of the flyover after the originals had gone astray.
So far, completed work has included the resurfacing of the flyover. It has also been re-waterproofed, and new joints have been installed in the road.
The sixth phase is reinforcing the concrete pillars in the neighbouring retail park which hold up the structure, and carrying out work to prevent steelwork within it from corroding.
Engineers were warned if this was not done concrete could fall from above on to cars in the car park, and heavy vehicles may have had to be banned from the bridge.
The initial estimate for the work before it began in September was £500,000.
But following a Freedom of Information request from the Echo, County Hall’s structures manager Clive Woodruff confirmed the projected cost of phase six has now almost doubled to £965,000.
Phase seven, which will be a continuation of this work, will cost a similar amount.
However, Mr Woodruff was unable to provide a breakdown of the running total so far, a schedule of the works completed, or a breakdown of initially projected costs, claiming it would cost too much to get the data.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, if a public body believes putting together the information will cost more than £450 in officer time it can be refused.
Mr Bobbin said: “For a project this big with major contracts involved they should have all the figures to hand.”
In the meantime, based on previous costs released by County Hall, the Echo estimates the bill, if phase seven is completed on budget, to be approaching £12million.
Norman Hume, Tory county councillor in charge of highways, was unavailable to comment on whether there would be further work.
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