Ely Southern Bypass one year later: ‘Life has eased so much as a result with traffic moving constantly and no blockages’
- Credit: Supplied/TonyGeeandPartners
The Southern Bypass Project in Ely is celebrating its first birthday – here’s how the multi-million pound bridge has impacted the city.
On October 31 2018, also known as Halloween, the new road over the River Great Ouse and two railway lines officially opened in East Cambridgeshire.
Lorry and haulage operators Turners of Soham say it's saving them thousands of wasted hours and reducing their carbon emissions.
Paul Day, managing director, said: "The bypass is a superb enhancement for Ely.
"Living south of the area means that life has eased so much as a result with traffic moving constantly and no blockages at the station gates.
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"It has been hugely beneficial for us and more importantly, our customers. They now have fresh produce being shipped faster to market - benefitting all involved."
Cambridgeshire County Council's chair of the economy and environment committee, Cllr Ian Bates, has also voiced his opinion on the project.
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He said: "I'm delighted to hear the bypass is boosting the economy and transport for local people, I'm regularly being told how much people value it.
"The bypass was built to bring great benefits to the city, help ease congestion, reduce journey times and boost local businesses.
"To hear Ely Southern Bypass' long-term aspiration is being fulfilled is great news."
Ely Southern Bypass is a 1.7km single carriageway with a viaduct crossing the Great Ouse and a bridge over two railway lines.
In total, around 2,092 tonnes of steel was used, 17,000 tonnes of asphalt laid and approx. 180,000m3 of clay, over half of which was sourced from a local farm in Stuntney.
By the time it opened last year, the bypass was £13m over the original budget and came in at a staggering final price of £49 million.
A damning report was released in July this year, highlighting how the overspend came about and revealing local councillors had no idea of the final price.
Bridge builders Volker Fitzpatrick set their total contractor target price as £24,460,072, with £675,794 allocated for stage 1, and £23,784,278 for stage 2.
For context, the cheapest tender bid received was £23,414,496.41, and the most expensive was £37,642,562.90.
At the end of the 16 week stage one period, the target cost for stage two had increased to £27,470,909.
At the time, a council spokesman said they "take the findings of this independent report into Ely bypass seriously" and changes had already been made.