Over the past two weeks two of the road schemes which were due to start imminently in Brighton & Hove have been postponed, with both unlikely to see the start of construction in 2024 at the earliest.
A259 from Fourth Avenue to Wharf Road
The A259 Temp cycle lane extension from Fourth Avenue to Wharf Road, which has already seen its start of construction date pushed back many times, with it originally due to start construction at the end of 2021, pushed back to spring 2022, and then further to spring 2023 after many rounds of consultation and tweaks. The scheme was originally designed to be a temporary solution to increase cycle capacity & safety for a few years before being replaced by a proper permanent solution, which is the same plan as the existing temporary section. However as the proposed temporary scheme was refined it took on more of a permanent solution of temporary construction & design, which is why it didn’t start constriction by the original April 2021 deadline, over 2 years ago when funding should have been committed.
The contractor of the A259 scheme, R.J. Dance was appointed a few months ago whilst the Green Party Administration was in charge, with works scheduled to start earlier this month. However, once the Labour Party took charge again in recent local elections, they decided to halt the scheme at a cost of £18,747 per week under stand-down charges associated with the works contract before calling an emergency committee meeting to put to a vote whether to cancel the contract (with additional charges) and then draw up actual permanent schemes which could take upwards of 6 months, before consultation & longer before construction, or alternatively to continue with the temporary scheme as designed.
The committee voted to terminate the contract and start work on design of a permanent solution without implementing the temporary scheme. During the committee Green Party Councillors where annoyed that the scheme as designed is not going ahead, but more worried out the impact this would have on current & future funding of other active travel schemes.
Valley Gardens Phase 3
Valley Gardens Phase 3 was once again announced as being delayed further. Phase 3 of the valley gardens scheme was supposed to start soon after Phase 1/2 was completed in 2020, and the existing layout was approved for construction for the Spring/Summer of 2022, however this was delayed till Spring 2023, and now is delayed until Spring 2024. The Valley Gardens Phase 3 scheme should take about 18 months to complete, which now means that it will not be completed until the end of 2025.
A259 Permanent Solution
One of the reasons why Labour are wanting to revisiting the A259 scheme is to maintain the existing two lane in either direction layout throughout the scheme, despite this characteristic of the road has zero benefit, but many disadvantages. We’ve produced two drawings of what a scheme along the A259 between Fourth Avenue and beyond Wharf Road could look like. One religiously keeping two lanes in either direction, and another providing one wider lane in either direction, plus a turning lane.
Click on the drawing below to see full version.