The Council is adamant the new crossing at Kings Dyke on the A605 should progress despite an expected increase in budget required to deliver the scheme, which will be reported to next week’s Economy and Environment Committee (August 16).
The County Council is committed to the project, with £13.6m already allocated in its business plan, and it will be working to secure the remaining funding needed to realise the significant benefits the scheme brings, once the final required budget is known.
The existing level crossing has long been a local issue due to downtime of the barriers, and the subsequent delays caused to traffic travelling between Whittlesey and Peterborough. Future plans by the rail industry to increase trains along the route are set to further increase traffic delays.
Following ground investigation work earlier this year and discussions with landowners, the project is progressing and means our contractor can finalise the design in preparation for work to start as planned early next year.
The scheme requires significant earthworks, ground stabilisation and a bridge to be constructed over the railway line, which can only be closed for very short periods of time. Therefore the scheme needs careful design and planning with survey results from both the existing highway and along the proposed route.
The design work is nearing completion, which has allowed more detailed development of the project and therefore, a greater understanding of the amount of work required to deliver the scheme.
This work is informing the development of a construction phase price and early indications are showing the construction cost is expected to be significantly higher than estimated prior to the detailed design phase. Considerable land and diversion of utility equipment costs, such as high voltage cables, are also adding to the overall increase in budget required for the scheme.
However, the scheme still represents considerable value for the taxpayer and as the target construction price progresses along with the design over the next month, it will undergo an in-depth review by an external consultant. It is important this process is thorough and follows robust procedures to ensure the scheme brings about the right benefits whilst also achieving value for money.
The contract for delivery has been split into two stages, design followed by construction and at its September 13th meeting the E& E committee is set to examine the external consultant’s review in detail to determine the correct price and best construction partner – as well as considering the full range of funding options.