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Motorists fume over delays to M54 roadworks

Telford | News | Published:

Roadworks which have reduced a stretch of the M54 to 50mph will last for another four weeks – despite the work already being four months behind schedule.

Work to replace the safety barriers on the motorway began last October and was supposed to be completed by December 14.

But officials at the Highways Agency today admitted the work would continue for 'between three to four weeks' after being hit with a string of delays.

The contractors brought in to carry out the project went in to administration and work has also been halted twice because of bad weather.

Weather first hit the scheme in January, leading the Highways Agency to revise the completion date to February 2.

But contractors Hewlett Civil Engineering went in to administration at the end of January and the scheme was further delayed by the heavy snow which hit Shropshire last month.

About 300 jobs were saved at Leeds-based Hewlett following a management buy-out which saw the company change its name to Hewlett Construction.

Hewlett Construction is now continuing the work on the motorway scheme.

Hewlett said at the time that it hoped 'most contracts held will be bestowed to the new company, helping to protect many of the jobs'.

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Patrick Thomas, Highways Agency route manager for the M54, said: "The scheme was suspended due to recent adverse weather conditions. Also, unfortunately the contractor undertaking the work went into administration at the end of January, which delayed the restart of the scheme whilst a new contractor was sought.

"Due to the nature of the work, it was impractical to remove the traffic management during the suspension period, but work restarted on April 3 and, weather permitting, should last for between three to four weeks."

The work is taking place along a two-mile stretch of the westbound carriageway of the M54 between junction 6 for Ketley and junction 7 for Wellington. The speed limit on that stretch of road has been reduced to 50mph while the work is carried out.

The work is being carried out overnight between 7pm and 5am.

As part of the work, trees and other vegetation along the embankment of the motorway have been removed, but these will be re-planted once the scheme has been completed.

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