Little progress on Cambridge-St Ives Guided Busway defects

14:00 12 June 2010

guided bus

guided bus

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TAXPAYERS in Cambridgeshire look set to have spent more than £40million too much by the time the Cambridge-Huntingdon guided busway is complete.

TAXPAYERS in Cambridgeshire look set to have spent more than £40million too much by the time the Cambridge-Huntingdon guided busway is complete.

But the county council expects to get the money back for the heavily-delayed project from contractors BAM Nuttall by 2014/15, under a ‘pain-gain’ sharing clause in the contract.

In the meantime, there is still no progress in ticking-off remedial work on defects on the northern section of the guideway between St Ives and Cambridge Science Park.

“There has been some work, but BAM has not made as quick progress as it set down in its own timetable, which is frustrating,” a county council spokesman said yesterday.

The total cost of the project – originally estimated at £116.3million, including land and supervision expenses – is now forecast to top £161million, though the council believes it will end up having paid £118million for the busway, which was due for handing over in full – including the southern section between Cambridge and Trumpington – in February last year.

There is even some doubt about whether BAM will meet its own revised deadline for finishing the southern section by December.

In the meantime, the contractor continues to bill CCC each month for the actual cost of carrying out the work done on the project – although it knocks off almost £14,000 a day in liquidated damages because the scheme is so far behind schedule.

So far, the 15 months of delay since last February have reduced payments to the contractor by more than £6million. But CCC is still forecasting that it will be looking to recover £40.4million from BAM, plus interest.

In the meantime, the county is having to borrow the money – though at a much lower rate of interest than that specified in the contract, but CCC will need to be right about BAM’s ultimate liability.

The reality, of course, is that the argument is likely to be a lucrative one for the legal profession.

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