Highways bosses have been accused of scaling back plans for Chichester’s A27.
Andrew Tyrie says the latest figure for the work of between £122m and £181m is ‘far lower’ than the figure Highways England gave to councillors only recently.
In a letter to Andrew Jones MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state, Chichester MP Mr Tyrie said: “In response to a parliamentary question, tabled by Richard Burdon MP on March 4, 2016, I noticed that you have put the cost of improving the A27 in Chichester at £122m - £181m.
“These figures are far lower than the costs mentioned by Mott MacDonald and Highways England in discussion with Chichester District Council.
“As far as I am aware, £181m would fund only so called ‘hamburger’ junctions, each with a new road section through each roundabout for through traffic, and new traffic light arrays.
“It would not fund flyovers. Option 2 of the Highways England proposal would therefore be excluded.”
Mr Jones MP’s announced estimate that between £122m and £181m would be spent by the Government on the Chichester project came on the same day as options including a new northern bypass were dramatically dropped.
Now instead of the possibility of a new northern expressway through Lavant, or a partial southern route through Oving being taken forward, only options for upgrading four roundabouts on the existing stretch will go to public consultation.
That has led to fears that the much-needed Chichester improvements have now been scaled back, a view suggested by Mr Tyrie, who has called for the option for flyovers to be reinstated.
His letter added: “Highways England have stated that Option 2 yields the returns 2.6 to 1. In view of that, and bearing in mind the overriding need to enable my constituents living on the Manhood Peninsular to get to work on time, I would be grateful if you could restore Option 2, originally for consultation.
“In addition, can you provide the cost of the planned improvements to the Arundel and Worthing sections of the A27 and the likely period over which they will be completed?”
The public consultations, due to be seven-weeks and take place this month, have been delayed to the late spring, early summer.
The Observer has gone to Highways England for a response.
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