Protected newts and cold weather the cause of £2.8m cost increase for Flore bypass

The new Flore bypass (officially known as the Daventry Development Link Road) opened at the end of 2018
The new Flore bypass (officially known as the Daventry Development Link Road) opened at the end of 2018

The cost of the Flore bypass has increased by an extra £2.8million due to delays on site and the discovery of a protected species of newts nearby.

The recently opened 3.5km road runs parallel to the M1 and cuts out the need to travel on the A45 through Nether Heyford, Flore and Weedon.

The discovery of Great Crested Newts led to delays in the project, and increased costs

The discovery of Great Crested Newts led to delays in the project, and increased costs

Starting at a new roundabout on the existing A45 between Dodford and Weedon, to the east of Globe Farm, the £40.9million project had been due to open in spring 2018 but harsh weather conditions saw the opening date delayed until November.

But now it seems there are other reasons for the rising price, with a county council spokesman saying: “There was an increase in costs to complete the A45 Daventry Development Link due to pressures related to delays on site, changes to the design and additional ecological monitoring that was required due to the presence of great crested newts.”

Great crested newts are a European protected species and the animals and their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are protected by law.

Construction projects have to follow a strict set of guidelines from Natural England, such as putting monitoring plans in place to assess the great crested newt population, if the species is discovered nearby.

Development work had been due to finish in spring, but faced months of delays due to the weather and design changes

Development work had been due to finish in spring, but faced months of delays due to the weather and design changes

The council says that the extra £2.8million be funded from an underspend in the Integrated Transport Block Grant, which is a grant from central government for capital transport projects.

Further costs in 2019-20 ‘will need to be managed’ according to Northamptonshire County Council.

The scheme, which was designed and constructed by KierWSP and Balfour Beatty, was funded by the SEMLEP Local Growth Deal, the Highways England Growth and Housing Fund, Northamptonshire County Council, Daventry District Council and developer funding.

The county council spokesman added that the authority was now in discussions with the contractor Balfour Beatty ‘regarding settlement of the final account’.