A council was blasted yesterday over plans to build Britain’s most expensive bus lane – which will cost £3.2 million for just 100 METRES.
The lane – measuring just EIGHT bus lengths – will cost a staggering £32,000 per metre.
It will be built in Bromyard Road in Worcester and take five months to complete.
But furious residents today branded the scheme ”a ludicrous waste” of taxpayers’ money and demanded the cash is used for more worthy projects.
Ben Phillips, 45, a management consultant living near the proposed bus lane, said: ”To spend more than £3million on a bus lane which is just 100 metres long is utter madness.
”How can the council justify such a ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money?
”If the council can’t come up with anything better to spend the money on it should go back to the Government.”
Pensioner Sylvia Godding, 67, added: ”The amount of disruption the building work will cause is simply not worth such a tiny bus lane.
”The council should be ashamed of themselves.”
The bus lane will be built at a notorious bottle-neck at the junction of Tudor Way on Bromyard Road.
Plans to extend the road for buses were scrapped after fears it would create more congestion.
Bromyard Road is around three miles long and is the main arterial route into Worcester.
The money will also be used to build a new set of traffic lights and turn another road into a one-way street to prevent motorists using it as a rat-run.
Worcestershire County Council has defended the scheme, claiming it will provide ”greater reliability” for buses driving into the city.
Peter Blake, Worcestershire County Council’s head of integrated transport, said: ”It’s not just about speeding things up but greater reliability through that corridor [Bromyard Road].”
Council chiefs say they must spend the cash on the road scheme because it was a ring-fenced grant from the Government which cannot be spent elsewhere.
Therefore, if the money is not spent it must to be returned to the Treasury.
Mr Blake added: ”The money can only be spent on Bromyard Road because it is a bespoke grant and if it is not used then officers would have to give it back to Government.
”As a result we are looking to reinvest as much as we can in traffic signals and crossing points.”
Cllr Derek Prodger, Cabinet Member for Transport and Safe Environment, added: ”We have to spend the money or we lose it.
”We do not think it is a waste of money and strongly believe the bus lane and the other traffic measures will have a beneficial impact on the area.”
But taxpayers’ groups also branded the cost of the scheme as ”outrageous”.
Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ”This is an outrageous bill for 100 metres of bus lane.
”The conditions attached to such grants show just how centralised our system has become, meaning that taxpayers’ hard-earned cash is squandered all too often.
”At the same time incidents like this do nothing to improve people’s trust in the council, as it seems that money is simply spent because it’s there.
”At a time when money is tight taxpayers will be furious that something like a bus lane has such a disproportionately expensive price tag.”
Building work to widen the road will begin in October and is expected to be completed by next March.
* In 2007 councillors in Islington, north London came under fire after they built a 10m long bus lane in the middle of the road – which buses didn’t even use.