If link road construction is on schedule - as the county council claims - then why the application for extra hours of work?
That’s the question being asked by London Road resident who lives only feet away from the new build.
It’s the latest criticism of the project management which has come under fire from traders and residents thanks to traffic delays, queues and diversions which have impacted on Sidley high street, London Road, and surrounding streets, and also Wrestwood Road which remains closed off.
Tim Cantrell is concerned that ESCC is asking for permission to work additional hours - until 6pm on Saturdays in his area.
He comments: “This amounts to five extra hours of noise and dust. Some houses are only ten yards from the work.”
In the rural part of the scheme ESCC has asked for an additional extra hour from Monday to Friday, and five additional hours on Saturday plus nine on Sunday - a total of 19 extra hours per week - “to the detriment of the farming community and wildlife” according to Mr Cantrell.
He received the letter recently from the county council’s public liaison officer who said the move was due to “exceptional rainfall”.
He points out that ESCC told the Observer earlier in April that “work remains on schedule”, and said: “Someone is not telling the truth...The link road building team has caused chaos and misery since January 29 last year and as the work is allegedly on schedule why do they need additional work hours?”
An ESCC spokesman commented: “While our main construction programme remains on schedule, there are some key activities which have been affected by the severe winter weather. To ensure we remain on target with these, we have been granted an extension to our working hours.
“In addition to our standard working hours of 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays, we have been granted permission to work until 6pm on Saturdays along the first mile of the route from the Belle Hill junction of the A259 to just past the Glovers Farm Bridge.
“We have also been given permission to work until 8pm on weekdays, until 6pm on Saturdays and from 9am to 6pm on Sunday on 500 metres of the route north-east of Glovers Farm through to Queensway.
“The extension of hours will only be used when necessary to complete work.
“These extended hours will last until 29 June 2014, at which point they will be reviewed. We have sent letters to all the affected residents informing them of the changes.”