Council scuppers cycle/pedestrian underpass for Ely southern by pass after hearing of £1 million extra cost doesn’t represent value for money

PUBLISHED: 11:07 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:07 13 February 2017

Ely Bypass. River bridge visualisation from north with walkway.

Ely Bypass. River bridge visualisation from north with walkway.


A bid to include a cycle/pedestrian underpass within the Ely Southern bypass scheme has been abandoned after councillors were warned it would cost £1 million than the original budget.

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

The decision was made by the economy and environment committee of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Brian Stinton, team leader for major infrastructure and highways, said the by pass was originally conceived without an underpass but was put in during the planning process. He said it was felt the dual use footway/cycleway on the eastern side of the A142 is narrow and involves cyclists from Stuntney crossing the road.

This led to an underpass being considered particularly as the cycle route is included in the East Cambs transport strategy with “an aspiration” to extend it to Soham.

Mr Stinton reminded the committee of an earlier feasibility study that suggested a cost of £330,000 “and on this basis a non-material amendment to the planning consent was approved”.

However he said a “more robust but significantly higher” cost has now been developed during the stage one contract design.

“This indicates that the underpass will require more than an additional £1 million over the original estimate,” he said.

Works would require significant de-watering and protection, the construction would prove more onerous, drainage would be an issue and the overall programme could be delayed if the scheme went ahead.

Mr Stinton also noted there were also long term maintenance costs to consider and to minimise the affect of poor ground condition combined with a high variable water table, heavily engineered and costly foundations would be needed.

His report noted that current cycling usage is low – around 45 per day- and even with improvements this is unlikely to grow significantly.

He said alternative provision for a cycle path has been considered with a “preliminary design” that could be delivered within the overall project budget.

Mr Stinton’s conclusion that “the low level of cyclists and the long-term maintenance implications” does not offer value for money was accepted.

1 comment

  • The council are lying toads. They promised this as the new road completely cuts off Stuntney if you are walking or cycling and makes the new road the only means you can travel by car. Kids are trapped in cars around Ely, it's not safe to travel by bike. It's a generation since people would cycle into Ely from Soham, just a couple of miles away. I have no regrets leaving the city of Ely for the Netherlands, my kids cycle every day and never with HGVs or on roads faster than 20mph, mostly segregated. We don't even own a car any more. But I have many beloved friends still in Ely and it will always be a place I fell in love with, blighted by stupid stupid insistence on car is king. I wish I was wrong, I wish our taxes were being better spent. I was at the initial planning meetings and the underpass was an integral part of making the new bypass work as part of it's surroundings - for human beings not in cars. It's as if the only thing that matters is getting those HGV's across country and forget the rest of the people living in what should be a beautiful part of East Anglia. Not happy, I sincerely hope no one dies trying to cross, the impact on mobility is already diabolical, but it will be worse. How many lives will be claimed to lack of mobility, pollution and how long before the accidents start. Cycling should not be a dangerous sport and walking and cycling are so ridiculously marginalised to joggers and dog walkers. Not to mention transport poverty, this area is one of the worst in the country - without a car, you are effectively nothing. The chances are it will go over budget elsewhere, but heaven forbid they are seen spending anything on something that doesn't benefit the already government subsidised HGV network we are paying for. Unbelievably disappointing, Cambs CC need their heads seen to.

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    Monday, February 13, 2017

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