PREPARATION work on building a road through Rimrose Valley Country Park will be delayed due to Covid-19 while a public consultation on the project scheduled for later this year has been scrapped.
Highways England have also been forced to pull the plug on a number of environmental surveys, meaning the entire project could now be pushed back.
The road, which is being built to improve access to the Port of Liverpool from Switch Island and was due to be completed in 2025.
A Highways England statement read: “Due to the impact of Covid-19, we have faced some delays on activities which we need to carry out to develop the project, including analysing the results of the ground investigation surveys.
“We’ve also postponed a number of environmental surveys as some of these could not be carried out safely while following social distancing, or because the results would not provide an accurate reflection of normal conditions.
“We are working to understand the overall impact of the virus on the project schedule, and to develop plans on how we can continue to complete the required activities. It is important that we have accurate data available so we can design the road as effectively as possible.
“It is uncertain how much longer the pandemic will continue to disrupt progress, but it is clear that we’ll be unable to hold our next consultation this year. We understand this will be disappointing to everybody who wants to formally have their say on the proposals, and we wanted to thank you for your patience.
“We are continuing to develop the scheme, and we’ll update stakeholders and share our proposals for the design of the road, along with the findings of the surveys, as soon as we can.”
Stuart Bennett, from the Save Rimrose campaign, said: “This announcement is sensible and we welcome Highways England’s acknowledgement that it is simply not possible to hold a public consultation at this time.
“Covid 19 has shone a light on how vital our parks and green spaces are – and how they must be fought for and protected. Bulldozing Rimrose Valley in favour of a road full of HGVs travelling to and from the port sounds as archaic as it is. People want a green recovery from this pandemic.”