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Sun October 20 2019

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Whittlesey level crossing bypass retendered

2 Oct Cambridgeshire County Council has begun the process of finding a new contractor to build its Whittlesey King’s Dyke level crossing scheme.

CGI of the elevated A605
CGI of the elevated A605

The council has published a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) putting the construction budget at £15.8m

The project involves construction of 1km of new road on structural embankments and a bridge over a railway to bypass the level crossing on the A605 at King’s Dyke, Whittlesey.

Kier was appointed to carry out detailed engineering design in August 2017 and it was given the construction contract in October 2018.

But when Kier submitted a final design and its price in July 2019, it came as something of a surprise. The initial budget had been £13.6m; the overall cost was going to be £39m, with the construction costs put at £26.2m. Kier was dropped.

The council is now hoping to find a contractor willing to build the same scheme for less than £16m.

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The contract notice states: “The scheme was previously awarded as a two-stage design and build contract, for which a detailed design was completed. Cost estimates increased over time and so the authority is now seeking improved outcomes from the market.

“The provider will be required to take responsibility for the existing detailed design, but may seek approval from the authority as to where it may be improved. The authority therefore welcomes value engineering exercises from the provider but notes that existing planning consent, site and technical constraints must be all upheld in any proposals which may come forward. Non-material amendments may be considered.”

Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count said “I’m delighted to see that we’re moving forward – we’ve made our commitment to this scheme clear and this is a key date in our new programme that aims to get this scheme delivered as soon as possible.

“A shortlist of contractors that score highest in initial quality assessments will be issued the main invitation to tender at the end of November and will then have four months to submit bids. This keeps us on track for the appointed contractor to start construction by December 2020.”

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