MP Steve Barclay delighted that PM’s pledge to ‘build, build, build’ begins in the Fens with start of £32m Kings Dyke crossing
- Credit: © Terry Harris
“The prime minister said we would ‘build, build, build’ and what better place than in my own constituency,” his chief secretary to the Treasury, and MP for NE Cambs Steve Barclay, said after work started on the £32m Kings Dyke crossing project.
Mr Barclay was speaking after he joined council leaders at the start of work on the crossing at Whittlesey.
Work has started five months early and will include building a new road and bridge over the Ely to Peterborough railway line, which is due open to traffic by December 2022. The level crossing will be permanently closed as part of the redevelopment.
Construction was originally scheduled to begin by the end of this year,
The historic ‘first spade in the ground’ moment was a low key, socially distanced, event but what it lacked in pomp and splendour was more than countered by its importance.
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“This a hugely significant day for the Fens and I’m delighted to be here at the start of this project,” said Mr Barclay.
“The Government has made its commitment to build, build, build as part of its response to the global health pandemic. It’s great to see work start on this key scheme.”
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Mayor James Palmer said his Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority had provided much needed cash to ensure the crossing would go ahead.
“I was proud to be in Whittlesey today for the start of works on King’s Dyke crossing,” he said, praising his colleague Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, for delivering on the promise to deliver the crossing.
Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK won the contact to deliver the King’s Dyke level crossing closure scheme, having scored high in both quality and price assessments, said a county council spokesman.
The tender process started in September last year and was completed on April 9.
The county council said that by re-tendering it had reduced the original tender price submitted by Keir, who had designed the crossing, by nearly £10 million.
County councillor David Connor, local member for Whittlesey South, was also present for the historic moment work began.
“As the local members, myself and Cllr Chris Boden along with former councillors Ralph Butcher and Martin Curtis and Whittlesey Town Council, we have all been campaigning for this scheme for more than 20 years,” he said.
A specific COVID-19 project contingency budget of £1.5 million has been agreed to fund any additional costs directly associated with the project caused by the impact of coronavirus.
“This will be closely managed and only used if necessary,” said the council spokesman.
Jones Bros managing director John Dielhof said: “The start of this project is an exciting milestone, particularly for the local residents and commuters who will benefit most when the development is completed.
“We look forward to delivering the King’s Dyke transport scheme on schedule and on budget.”
Work has begun on the earthworks which involves bringing in materials to construct the embankment that the new road will be built on and it will continue throughout the summer.
The main site compound will be built next month and later this year, the focus will be on the structure for the underpass and bridge.
Cllr Count said: “I am thrilled that we are starting work on this vitally important project for the area and five months earlier than planned is a great achievement.
“This progress has been made despite the recent challenges caused by COVID-19 and while it remains a live issue, I’m glad some of us could get together, socially distanced, to celebrate.” Mayor Palmer said: “Removing delays at the King’s Dyke crossing will unlock opportunity for the north of the county and bring investment, jobs, and homes.”
There will be a two-week road closure on the A605 put in place by Lindum Homes. During this time, Jones Bros will be carrying out underground utility works to minimise disruption to the public.
Established in the 1950s, Jones Bros’ leadership team consists of members of the second and third generations of the founding family. It employs close to 500 people.
The company is currently working on contracts in various sectors including highways, flood and marine defence, waste management and renewable energy around the UK.