Ray of hope in bid to get Kings Dyke crossing at Whittlesey back on track
PUBLISHED: 17:39 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:27 13 February 2020
We are just weeks away from finding out which of six contractors are prepared to take on construction of the Kings Dyke crossing.
"The Kings Dyke scheme remains on track with the timescales agreed at the economy and environment Committee held in Whittlesey in August 2019," said a spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council.
"Six contractors were shortlisted in November last year, with bids to construct the scheme due in March."
The spokesman said: "Once assessments of these bids are complete, the outcome will be presented to committee in April/May and the necessary decisions taken to achieve the planned start of construction by December 2020.
"The county council continues to remain committed to delivering this scheme as soon as possible."
Growing optimism for a start date is reflected in a new sign put up alongside the A605 between Whittlesey and Peterborough that will be updated as the scheme progresses.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), Brian Stewart, project manager, said one of the key needs for confidence going forward is a change to the expected completion date of the A605 Kings Dyke level crossing closure from the end of 2020, to late 2022.
"This will allow for the formalisation of funding agreements that are vital to give confidence to any future procurement tenders," he said.
"The county council needs to be able to demonstrate to those bidding for the construction work that the funding is in place, without which the procurement exercise would be severely prejudiced.
"This requires a funding agreement between the combined authority and the county council, which includes the revised timeline for completion of the scheme.
The county council re-tendered the contract to build a bridge over the level crossing after Kier's costs for the project soared from an original budget of £13.6 million to nearly £39 million.
Cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: "We need to get this done as soon as possible because there is no doubt that these hold-ups are affecting the economy of the city of Peterborough and making the lives of those who use this crossing a complete misery.
"We should've had this done a long time ago, but we now find ourselves in the embarrassing position of having - once again - to extend the completion date of the A605 Kings Dyke level crossing closure from the end of 2020, to late 2022.
Members of the CPCA Board approved the revised timeline necessary for the funding agreement to be completed.