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Cambs saves £10m with bridge re-tender


01 May 2020

Cambridgeshire County Council expects to save almost £10m after retendering the contract to replace a railway level crossing with a bridge. 

About 14,000 vehicles use King’s Dyke level crossing, on the A605 near Whittlesey, between Peterborough and March, each weekday. Congestion often builds up because the railway handles about 120 trains a day. 

Cambridgeshire appointed Kier on a two-stage design and build contract for a bridge in 2017. Last August the council decided to reprocure the construction contract on the open market after Kier raised its target cost a second time. The contractor had initially quoted £7.9m, then upped it to £15.8m, before raising it again to £26.2m (LTT 30 Aug 19).

Kier’s second rise would have taken the project cost to £41.6m. Cambridgeshire’s approved budget for the scheme was just £30m, of which about £8m has been spent so far. 

The £30m comprises £5.6m from the county council, £8m of Local Growth Fund, and £16.4m from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s share of the DfT’s Transforming Cities Fund grant (LTT 09 Nov 18).

Steve Cox, Cambridgeshire’s executive director for economy and place, told councillors last week that the preferred bidder’s quote meant the scheme budget would increase to £32m. But he  said this was still almost £10m below the cost if Kier’s revised price had been accepted.?

The council is to ask the combined authority to fund £1.2m of the £2m additional budget requirement, in line with a 40/60 per cent funding agreement for the scheme between the county and combined authority.

Cambridgeshire envisages construction commencing in December 2020, with the bridge opening in December 2022. 

Cox said Covid-19 could have a “significant impact” on the project, however. “Given the rapidly changing position with the virus and government responses, it is difficult to accurately quantify the risks. This is made even more challenging by it not being possible to discuss the impact with the preferred bidder until the notification of award has been issued following committee approval.”

The council is to establish a £1.5m Covid-19 contingency budget for the project.

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