The wait is almost over as Cambridgeshire County Council on verge of agreeing £16.9million contract for Kings Dyke crossing, Whittlesey

PUBLISHED: 20:34 06 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 07 August 2017

Kings Dyke crossing project approved

Kings Dyke crossing project approved

Archant

The county council is on the brink of awarding the contract to build the £16.9million new crossing on the A605 at Kings Dyke, Whittlesey.

The route chosen  bypasses the existing level crossing to the south. It involves the creation of two new roundabouts at Funthams Lane and the brickworks access road. In the public consultation, this route was labelled Location 3 and had the support of a majority of respondents (58%) as well as a number of local businesses and Whittlesey Town Council. The route chosen bypasses the existing level crossing to the south. It involves the creation of two new roundabouts at Funthams Lane and the brickworks access road. In the public consultation, this route was labelled Location 3 and had the support of a majority of respondents (58%) as well as a number of local businesses and Whittlesey Town Council.

The preferred bidder is expected to be agreed by a council committee on Thursday paving the way for detailed design work to get under way.

“Significant work has been undertaken to secure the land for the scheme and informal agreement has now been reached with all the landowners for the purchase of the land,” says a council report.

It is the first indication of a breakthrough in protracted negotiations that have stalled progress on the scheme.

“There is a presumption that the scheme will be delivered as a single package, but there is no guarantee to the contractor that they will be allowed to move directly from detailed design to construction,” says the report.

Kings Dyke crossing. Kings Dyke crossing.

“This would be conditional on satisfactory performance and agreement of a construction target price based on the detailed design.”

Much of the report to the economy and environment committee details the risk of costs increasing and ensuring the project moves to completion.

Those invited to tender identified areas where costs were likely to be higher than expected, particularly around stabilising land around the disused clay extraction pit.

Prices are also liable to be influenced by the availability of fill materials for the embankments and difficulties in construction posed by ground conditions.

But it is the cost of acquiring land that has challenged the council most as they have sought to follow Government gyuidelines and avoid the need for compulsory purchase orders (CPO).

“Negotiating land acquisition also prevents a lengthy CPO process, which would delay the project with an underlying risk that the CPO might not be successful at public inquiry,” says the report.

Informal agreement on how much the land will cost has now been settled but at a greater cost than originally anticipated.

The committee will be told that should costs increase it will be necessary for the general purposes committee to authorise additional expenditure following completion of the design stage.

Once the design stage is completed the council will be in a better position to forecast a possible completion date.

This, the committee will be told, will depend on the method of construction chosen and what works need to be done in association with Network Rail.

The A605 between Whittlesey and Peterborough carries over 12,000 vehicles per day and there are some 120 daily train movements across the level crossing.

The resulting closure of the King’s Dyke level crossing barrier causes significant delay to traffic. Future plans by the rail industry to increase the number of trains along the route would further increase delays.

The situation is exacerbated in wetter periods, when local flooding closes North Bank, an alternative route to Peterborough, for long periods of time. The additional 5,000 vehicles a day using the level crossing doubles the average delay per vehicle.

Councillors acknowledge the delays have an impact on local businesses and commuters travelling between Whittlesey and Peterborough and”addressing these problems is vital”.

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