Shock rise expected in cost of Kings Dyke replacement at Whittlesey - county council warns price will be ‘significantly higher’

PUBLISHED: 14:17 10 August 2018

Kings Dyke level crossing at Whittlesey. The £16.9m estimated cost of a new bridge and associated works has rocketed, says the county council.

Kings Dyke level crossing at Whittlesey. The £16.9m estimated cost of a new bridge and associated works has rocketed, says the county council.

Archant

A shock report from Cambridgeshire County Council predicts the estimated £16.9m cost of a new crossing at Kings Dyke, Whittlesey, will be “significantly higher”.

The route bypasses the existing road and is reached through roundabouts at both ends of the road. At the highest point the bridge would be 9.2m above the ground (the height of the traffic would be up to an additional 2.5 metres above bridge railings).The route bypasses the existing road and is reached through roundabouts at both ends of the road. At the highest point the bridge would be 9.2m above the ground (the height of the traffic would be up to an additional 2.5 metres above bridge railings).

Despite the council’s website still showing an assessment from earlier this year of expecting the overall cost of the project to be reduced a new report shows this is not the case.

With the design not even signed off and a provisional start date pushed back to 2019, senior council executives warned: “The recent detailed development phase of this project has highlighted that overall project costs are now expected to be significantly higher than the £16.9 million estimated prior to the design phase.

“This is a result of increases in land and statutory undertakers’ costs over early estimates, as well as early indications from Kier the contractor that the construction cost is now expected to be much higher than that submitted prior to the detailed design phase.”

The council has been until now in the position where the majority of funding has already been allocated but like the Ely bypass, King’s Dyke is facing a massive overspend unless savings can be made.

MP Steve Barclay said last month “Following my request for an update from the county council they have confirmed their commitment to the project with £13million allocated in the county council business plan.

“I am pleased this is still the case and hope it reassures constituents that progress is still being made.”

How much more will be required will not be known until Kier comes back for a build price: the contract with Kier has been split into two stages, design followed by construction.

The report says a breakpoint between the two stages means that the county council will be considering whether to award the construction phase of the project to Kier, a decision that is currently expected to be presented to the economy and environment committee for consideration in September.

“Kier will be developing the target construction price as the design progresses over the next month, accompanied by an ongoing review by an external consultant,” says the report.

The council says detailed design did not start as quickly as anticipated due to access requirements to carry out the additional surveys.

A breakpoint between the two stages means that the council will be considering whether to award the construction phase of the project to Kier, a decision that is currently expected to be presented to councillors for consideration in September.

The report says: “Kier will be developing the target construction price as the design progresses over the next month, accompanied by an ongoing review by an external consultant.

“An initial review of the benefit cost ratio shows that the scheme still represents high value for money, but this will be formally reviewed once the construction target price has been finalised.

“Any additional costs would not be realised in this financial year and the current draft contractor’s programme suggests that the road would open in spring 2020.”

The route chosen for the new single carriageway road bypasses the existing level crossing to the south. It will involve the creation of two new roundabouts at Funthams Lane and the brickworks access road.

The existing level crossing has long been a bottleneck for traffic between Whittlesey and Peterborough. Future plans by the rail industry to increase trains along the route will further increase delays.

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