Inflation is affecting transport improvement schemes in Darlington

Darlington Council has announced several transport projects which favour cycling and walking throughout the town over the past year – but many have stalled due to a lack of funding.

A transformation of Duke Street by adding a dedicated cycle lane and widened pavements to allow for better pedestrian access is the latest scheme to be affected by cost pressures.

Work was due to begin earlier this year but a letter sent to businesses said the proposed January 3 start date had been scrapped. No new start date has been set. The authority says inflationary pressures hitting the construction industry and the cost of raw material have affected funding, reports the Darlington and Stockton Times.

Meanwhile, plans to create two new roundabouts on the busy A68 near Cockerton have yet to secure funding.

The scheme was revised after dozens of complaints and will see the A68 Cockerton and Woodland Road/Carmel Road North roundabouts rebuilt to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion, improve pedestrian safety and to encourage people to walk and cycle.

But councillor Andy Keir, cabinet member for local services, told a council meeting on Thursday that the council had yet to receive funding for the project, first revealed last January.

The scheme has been assessed by independent highways and traffic modelling consultants who say the remodelled roundabouts are needed in the area and will create sufficient additional capacity for future years without compromising the road network.

Council leader Jonathan Dulston said finances are stretched. “We are a very small council, a very small public services department and we are leading some of the biggest transformation capital projects in the North East, so I’m really proud of the amazing work that we continue to do to develop Darlington.

“But with that comes a massive strain on our workforce and partners to deliver to the right standard and timescales. We continue to apply pressure to keep them on track.”

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