A major road connecting Caddington to Luton and Dunstable will be closed for another eight weeks due to alleged construction failures.
Chaul End Road was already closed for traffic calming measures to be introduced as Redrow Homes got to work on its Caddington Woods development of 325 houses.
But mistakes were allegedly made during the construction of a new footway which narrowed the road, as well as the fitting of gas mains and Virgin Media infrastructure underneath. Now, Central Bedfordshire Council has taken the “difficult” decision to close the road for a further eight weeks for safety reasons.
Caddington Cllr Richard Stay said: “Well, I think in a word – omnishambles!
“It’s had huge impact. This is a direct connection to places like the hospital, the shops, work, and the alternative routes add half an hour on to your journey.”
In response, a Redrow spokesman defended the company’s position and said they continued to work closely with CBC.
He went on: “Due to the extent and scale of works involved, a degree of disruption would unfortunately always be unavoidable.
“Extending the existing road closure is regrettable, but ultimately it will ensure that elements of the works are completed within the earliest possible timeframe, ahead of the terms of the S106 agreement.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the extended road closure.”
An email by CBC was sent out to Caddington residents. It stated: “Initially and due to failures on site by the contractor, we instructed for them to put the road back as was.
“Unfortunately, several 100m’s of gas pipe has been laid in the proposed footway and if it was returned to carriageway it would not meet requirements of depth required for carriageway and potentially dangerous.”
It went on: “The contractors are being charged a significant penalty for every day they are overdue starting next Monday and they have until Friday 16th December to complete.”
Cllr Stay and fellow Caddington member Cllr Kevin Conroy met with officers at CBC yesterday to discuss the situation.
Cllr Stay said: “My first instinct was to look at where the fault lay and I’ve satisfied myself that our officers have done everything they could have done to reduce the impact.
“It’s had a very serious effect on Caddington, I’m frankly furious.”
A CBC spokesman added: “Safety of the public is the council’s priority so, at the moment, the decision to keep the road is with CBC until we are satisfied the works can be completed in a safe manner.
“We are in discussions with all parties to try and get a positive end to the problem we have experienced.
“There is likely to be an update by the end of the week.”