Ely bypass costs increase by a quarter

April 11 2018   | Region: East of England

Ely bypass costs increase by a quarter

Construction costs on the Ely Southern Bypass have increased by nearly a quarter.

Cambridgeshire County Council revealed that ground conditions have proved to be “even worse and more unpredictable” than expected and that building across a flood plain and poor fenland soils have resulted in the need for additional work and materials.

“Costs have increased by £13M, which we’re working with our contractor to minimise,” said Councillor Ian Bates, the chairman of the council’s economy and environment committee. The £36M project will now cost in the region of £49M and the road is set to open in October.

“We all took the brave decision to procure the contract early to get the scheme off the ground and the cost of the scheme is the reality of building in such a difficult area,” he added. “Although this increase in costs is disappointing, we are clear the costs would have been much the same if we had waited, but we wanted to push ahead and get the road built as soon as possible.

“If we hadn’t taken that decision, the project would have been delayed a further 12 to 18 months and funding may have been lost.”

The contractor Volker Fitzpatrick declined to comment.

Once complete, the 1.7km bypass will ease congestion in and around Ely, where a level crossing currently causes frequent delays and a low railway bridge is often struck by heavy goods vehicles, with 18 incidents last year.

The scheme features a 500m long architect designed viaduct over the River Great Ouse, with a uniquely designed walkway to give access for pedestrians and provide a viewing point of the nearby cathedral.

(Image: Knight Architects)

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