The Chipping Warden Relief Road was due to be opened in early May, however the Road Safety Audit identified some outstanding items which needed to be resolved. Due to the outcome of the Road Safety Audit and a lack of clarity on maintenance arrangements for the first 12 months, a decision was made by HS2 to delay the opening of the road.
Under the HS2 Act, HS2 have the responsibility to undertake routine maintenance for the first 12 months as well as dealing with defects etc. before the road is formally adopted as Highway and handed over to WNC. The Act also allows for an agreement between HS2 and ourselves for alternative arrangements to be reached.
HS2 Ltd have approached WNC requesting that we undertake the routine maintenance on their behalf for the Relief Road for the first 12 months by entering into a maintenance agreement with them. The meeting we had last week was to discuss and understand their requirements in further detail as although there had been general discussions at Highway sub group, HS2 had not arranged a meeting to discuss in detail until last week. We are working with HS2 Ltd to agree a way forward.
HS2 confirmed at the most recent highways sub group that the default position was that the responsibility for maintenance for the first 12 months was that of the nominated undertaker and that a lack of an agreement for a highway authority to undertake maintenance should not stop the signing of a certificate of practical completion.
Our understanding therefore is that the lack of a maintenance agreement with us should not delay the opening of the road. We are still awaiting HS2 to issue the certificate of practical completion for us to sign so that the road can be opened to the public as soon as possible.
Esme Cushing - WNC