Hull MP Emma Hardy wants meeting to make sure £250m Castle Street upgrade remains on course
CAMPAIGNING: Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy is seeking reassurances about the Castle Street upgrade
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 10 Jul 2017
Hull's newest MP wants a cross-party meeting with Highways England to discuss the planned £250m upgrade of Castle Street.
Under plans, a section of Castle Street will be lowered under a new bridge taking traffic between Ferensway and Commercial Road.
Two new footbridges are also planned, including a major pedestrian crossing linking Princes Quay to the Marina.
Emma Hardy, the newly-elected MP for Hull West and Hessle, is seeking reassurances from Peter Adams, the director of major projects at Highways England, that the scheme remains on course.
Highways England is a government-owned company that has responsibility for the operation, maintenance and improvement of England's motorways and trunk roads, including the A63 and Castle Street.
Mrs Hardy said: "Problems around congestion in Castle Street and the A63 are getting worse. It's something I picked up on during the election campaign, when I promised people that I would get on with it, and do all I can to make sure this scheme happens. I'm now doing that."
Should Mr Adams agree to the meeting, likely to be held in Wesminster, Mrs Hardy intends to invite her Labour colleagues Karl Turner, MP for Hull East, and Diana Johnson, MP for Hull North.
Invitations would also be sent to conservatives Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, and David Davis, MP for Howden and Haltemprice, because the upgrade affects their constituents, she said.
"The Castle Street upgrade is too important for party politics," she said. "It is really important this scheme has cross-party support."
Next week, Mrs Hardy will be meeting with Councillor Martin Mancey, the city council's portfolio holder for strategic transport, to discuss the scheme.
Last year Ms Hardy's predecessor, Alan Johnson, accompanied Cllr Mancey at a meeting with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
FRUSTRATED: Cllr Martin Mancey, pictured in Castle Street, says he is frustrated at the delays
Cllr Mancey said: "The Secretary of State made all the right noises, but I am sure our new MP will want reassurances regarding the scheme.
"I do not have any concerns that the scheme will not happen, but I do have concerns about the government recognising its economic importance, both in the short term and long term."
Under the current timetable, the development consent order - similar to a planning application - will be submitted to Mr Grayling in late autumn, with a final decision expected in early 2019.
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Cllr Mancey said: "I am very frustrated at the length of time it has taken to get where we are, along with the prospect of it still being several more years. That said, I understand the complexities of the issues."
It is expected the work will take around four years to complete, with utility pipes and cabling first having to be diverted.
Cllr Mancey said: "The reason why it's going to take so long to complete is that we have insisted Highways England maintains two lanes, in both directions, at all times, in order to keep disruption to a minimum."
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