The £19m Thornton to Switch Island Link road on Merseyside has been called in for a Public Inquiry.
Sefton Council said it has always anticipated, and planned for, a potential formal hearing in front of an inspector appointed by the Government.
The council has received two objections to the Compulsory Purchase Order which is needed to formally acquire the land and associated rights for the new £19m bypass.
As one of these is classed as a ‘statutory objection,’ a Public Inquiry has been called by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Negotiations are continuing in an attempt to address the grounds for objection during the weeks ahead.
If no agreement is reached, an Inquiry is due to take place in the next three to five months.
Cllr Peter Dowd, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Naturally we are disappointed at anything which means the delivery of this long-anticipated link road may take a little bit longer.
“The road has overwhelming support but we are respectful of people’s democratic rights and we are working hard to address the grounds for objection without the need for a formal inquiry.
“The timescale for the inquiry is largely governed by the Department for Transport but we are doing our best to push for a hearing as soon as possible.”
Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Transportation, said: “This is something we always knew might happen so it is not a major, unforeseen delay and is something you might expect with a scheme of this nature and scale.
“Our legal team is already making the necessary preparations and we will be presenting as robust a case as possible to address any issues raised.
“The council remains fully committed to this much-needed transport scheme.”