Council insists Ely’s southern bypass will benefit from busway lessons

How Ely's new southern bypass could look.

How Ely's new southern bypass could look. - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council says it will not make the same mistakes with Ely’s southern bypass as it did with the guided bus.

The council plans to use a two-stage design and build contract that will give greater protection should costs start to spiral.

The move comes a year after a legal dispute with busway contractor BAM Nuttall was settled out of court.

Brian Stinton, team leader for major infrastructure delivery, said: “Since the busway contract was let a number of mechanisms have been developed to limit this risk by either capping or only paying a proportion of actual cost above the target price.

“These are reported to be working effectively, but it should be noted that such mechanisms may be reflected in a higher initial target cost. On the basis of advice taken from a contractual expert and lessons learned from the guided busway delivery review, it is recommended that a two stage design and build contract with target price is adopted to ensure reasonable level of cost certainty and apportioning of the risk appropriately.” He will outline his plans to councillors on Tuesday.

Mr Stinton said there were “a number of risks around the Ely project” including earthworks, ground conditions, building a bridge over the railway and river and flood risks. he said placing all weather risk unreasonable and in exceptional circumstances an extension of time could be awarded.

The council is hopeful the contract will be awarded by December next year, with work completed on the bypass by November 2017.

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Mr Stinton said that the projected cost of the bypass had risen from £31million in 2012, to some £35million “at 2015 prices” and a number of sources of funding had been identified.