Green light to build £35 million Ely bypass but successful bidder subject to two stage process in light of guided busway debacle

Ely Bypass. Rail bridge visualisation from south.

Ely Bypass. Rail bridge visualisation from south. - Credit: Archant

A contractor has been agreed to design and build Ely’s £35 million southern bypass- but it comes with a major proviso.

Ely Bypass. A new walkway and pedestrian route

Ely Bypass. A new walkway and pedestrian route - Credit: Archant

The county council – confident it can go ahead now it has secured £16 million funding from the Government- says the design must be right before the contractor can build it.

The successful bidder was chosen from a short list of six and according to the council provided the most “economically advantageous tender”.

The council decided it would use a two-stage design and build contract for the 1.7km long single carriageway road – that includes a 500m long viaduct crossing of the Great Ouse and a bridge over the railway line-

The council says the two-stage process will give greater protection should costs start to spiral. Lessons have been learned from the legal dispute with busway contactor BAM Nuttall was that eventually settled out of court.

Ely Bypass. An overhead view of how the bypass will come through the city

Ely Bypass. An overhead view of how the bypass will come through the city - Credit: Archant


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Here’s who will foot the bypass bill:

•Local Enterprise Partnership Local Growth Fund: £6 million

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•Network Rail: £5 million

•Local Growth Fund (via the Government): £16 million

•East Cambs District Council (from community infrastructure levy): £1 million

•The rest: Cambs County Council borrowing

An earlier council report suggested the land needed for the bypass had already been bought at a cost of £2.31 million.

Councillor Ian Bates, chairman of the county economy and environment committee, said confirmation of Government support “is good news for this much needed scheme to tackle a congestion blighted area of Ely.

“It will help further boost the economy of the city.”

Cllr Bates said: “We have worked closely with Government to make sure any necessary agreements are in place to allow the release of the £16 million Growth Deal funding as long as certain caveats are met.

“This means we can have a smooth process and appoint a contractor to start work on developing the final engineering design immediately with potentially construction starting on site late in 2016.”

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