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Cost of guided busway climbs to £181 million

By LN1988  |  Posted: December 02, 2010

Comments (12)

The cost of the guided busway project has spiralled to £181 million, bosses confirmed yesterday.

That is well above the £116 million figure budgeted and exposes the risk taxpayers face if an “inevitable” legal battle with contractor BAM Nuttall does not end successfully.

The firm was originally due to receive £87 million, but says it has spent £151 million.

The rest of the bill for the much-delayed scheme – for costs such as land and supervision – is forecast to come in £700,000 above the £29 million anticipated – giving a new total figure of £181 million.

Cambridgeshire County Council says it is confident it will have to spend little more than £116 million, but BAM Nuttall argues the authority should bear responsibility for much of the additional spending.

Opposition transport spokesman Cllr Kilian Bourke, who obtained the figures, said they set the scene for the legal fight.

He said: “It is disconcerting to learn that in the very worst-case scenario the council could have to pay out up to £60 million.

“This may be unlikely, but it establishes the scale of the risk.

“We just have to hope the council’s lawyers are right and it wins 100 per cent of the case – otherwise Cambridgeshire could be footing the cost of this project for decades.”

The council has already earmarked deductions of more than £8 million from BAM Nuttall for late delivery – the link should have been completed in February last year – but expected additional legal costs means the forecasted total can only be adjusted down to £177 million.

Cllr Roy Pegram, the authority’s infrastructure chief, said a “pain-gain” mechanism in the contract meant BAM Nuttall should bear the bulk of additional construction costs.

He said: “We must not lose sight of the fact that what really matters to the council is what we actually have to pay for the guideway, not what it has cost the contractor to build.

“Our current forecast shows that this will be very close to the £116 million budget figure and we are making prudent provision for a range of outturns around this point.”

Tim Phillips, chairman of pro-rail campaign Cast.Iron, there was “no doubt” the rail line between Cambridge and St Ives could have been reopened for less than £181 million.


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  • LN1988  |  December 03 2010, 12:23PM

    People of Cambridge, look at this site and weep ! http://www.airdriebathgateraillink.co.uk/project/gallery/

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 5:46PM

    I would like to know in what conceivable or minute respect the Council or its little clique of supporters have been right from the very beginning of this tragic and monumental saga of wasted money and environmental vandalism. Bad, bad, bad. A crass concept, hopelessly incompetently executed. Utter gullibilty and stupidity matched by endless arrogance. Costs even now not fully quantified that will never, ever be covered. A huge and unwanted burden on taxpayers even after the damned thing has been ripped up, as it inevitably will be. Airdrie-Bathgate is indeed the model. What a pity that Cambridgeshire County Council simply has no idea whatsoever about railways.

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 1:27PM

    "£65M and not a penny more" err £86M....err £116...err £151... err £181 err...£??? What is clear is that it will rise, perhaps to £200M When will the resignations start?

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 10:20AM

    Pegram says: "...what really matters to the council is what we actually have to pay for the guideway, not what it has cost the contractor to build". No, that is not what matters. This is one massive experiment on the people of Cambridgeshire and the fact remains that it costs £181 million to build a guided busway in this location, which is way in excess of what it would have cost to rebuild the railway in the same location.

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 10:06AM

    So, just when are the people who started this farce going to face up to the responsibility.

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 9:39AM

    Is it to late to get a few heavy bulldozers so smash it to ballast and relay the railway down?

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 9:35AM

    Airdrie and Bathgate line in Scotland (26miles) is due to open this month. Rebuilt in only 2 years, Which included Double-tracking the line between Bathgate and Edinburgh plus electrified the line from Airdire to Edinburgh (40 miles),Also five new stations with heated waiting rooms. All this for £300 millon, better value, on time and no cost overrun. This cost of this busway may well reach the £300 millon if you included BAM legal costs

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 8:59AM

    No way the contractor should be paid more. It is clear that they have taken forever to build the route and that's why the costs for them have gone up. Yes, annoying that this is likely to finish in court, but the Council is right.

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 8:47AM

    A total waste of our money and all the lies about this ill fated project which so many residents did not want? When is someone going to have the common decency and put their hands up and resign for the mounting costs alone justify this, besides which how come it is rising by so much when we could have had the railway line reinstated for far less and open by now ??

  • LN1988  |  December 02 2010, 8:32AM

    So... that's a FIFTH of the cost of the A14 upgrade scheme then. Brilliant. Even when it's working, it's not going to have 1/5th the effect of widening the A14. It'll do nothing to alleviate traffic from lorries crossing the county. It won't help long-distance east-west commuters at all. Oh, and didn't everyone say this cost would rocket up? And didn't the council promise it wouldn't? So where's the accountability for that mistake then?