Well the Highways Agency have now topped that. Yesterday saw a reply in Parliament to this question placed by the Shadow Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill MP:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1286-87W, on the Longdendale bypass, what costs have been incurred in connection with the A57/A628 Mottram to Tintwistle bypass since 13 November 2008.
Now you'll remember that 13th November 2008 was the last time Goodwill made enquiries about the cost of the scheme, which then stood at £16 million. The reply, forthcoming from Paul Clark MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, is gobsmacking:
For the period of 13 November 2008 to 30 April 2009, the A57/A628 Mottram to Tintwistle bypass scheme has incurred costs of approximately £1,176,000.
Working it out, that's 167 days (just under 6 months) - so the costs incurred since then have been £7,041.92 per day. And in the second part of his answer, Clark reveals what this has been spent on:
The costs include general project management, preparation for closure of the Public Inquiry, responding to general inquiries, project governance, staff costs, costs associated with the contract and finalising documents for the postponement of the project.
It seems to us that the phrase 'preparation for the closure of the Public Inquiry' is a bit of an abstract concept. After all, the Inspector has made it look like he has tried his best to bring the things to a close, and the Highways Agency have ignored it. Clearly the Gravy Train has no brakes, and the Government is in no mood to derail it.
When one considers the announcements made in the Budget two weeks ago, and all the speculation regarding possible cuts to all kinds of budgets, it beggars belief that this road to nowhere is still trundling along, costing you and I nearly £300 for each hour that passes.