Road re-opens after cycle path project over-runs

A project to reconstruct a footpath to be a shared foot and cycle path linking Billinghay with Walcott which has led to the B1189 being closed to traffic for months is almost complete.

Road closure

Work started on August 16 and was originally due to end by November 19 but it overrun by a month, to the annoyance of locals who have endured months of diversions, damage to minor roads and impacted on local businesses who have lost passing trade.

The road was finally resurfaced and reopened on December 21. Richard Fenwick, county highways manager said: “The works have now been completed with the road open.

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“In order to protect the safety of the operatives, and all road users, this road had to be closed for the duration of the works because of the narrowness of the carriageway.

“A temporary footway had to be provided to replace the existing pedestrian facilities and this was the reason for the road closure.

“Throughout January, there will be traffic lights in place for some additional elements of the work to be finalised, but the road itself won’t need to be closed again.”

This will entail one to two weeks of work in Walcott and three weeks in Billinghay.

In a letter to Billinghay Parish Council, the county council apologised to residents for the work going on longer than planned due to bad weather and some key staff having to isolate due to covid.

Fuming residents commented on the news via social media. One was angry at the damage done to narrow lanes by drivers taking short cuts instead of the official diversion: “I sincerely hope the parish council will campaign hard for a full reparation of the fen roads and civilisation of the road sides.”

Another said: “Ridiculous that the whole road is closed for such a long time for the sake of a cycle path, major inconvenience to residents and businesses.”

But another commented: “Cycleways are crucial to enable us all to reduce our carbon footprint. Outside of the 30 mile an hour speed limit zones I wouldn’t feel safe for my grandchildren to be cycling. I say well done to all involved.”