Cambridgeshire

Peterborough level crossing bypass cost increases to £39m

King's Dyke level crossing Image copyright Google
Image caption The new road will bypass the level crossing at King's Dyke on the A605 between Peterborough and Whittlesey

The cost of building a bypass and bridge over a level crossing looks set to rise to a "preposterous" £39m.

The project at King's Dyke near Peterborough was initially expected to cost £13.6m but more than doubled to £30m in October.

Cambridgeshire County Council has now requested a further £8.7m from the Combined Authority's budget.

The authority said this was "totally unacceptable", while the council said it was considering "available options".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The level crossing at King's Dyke is a bottleneck for the area's traffic

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority controls the county's budgets for major infrastructure projects, so the council has asked it for further funding to cover the project's cost.

The planned bypass will connect Peterborough and Whittlesey, with a bridge planned over the Peterborough-Ely railway line.

The county council said it would solve long delays - sometimes of up to 13 minutes - when slower freight trains use pass the level crossing.

However, in addition to the latest cost hike, the Combined Authority's leader, Mayor James Palmer, said the council did not expect to complete the crossing until late 2021 - eight months later than planned.

The Mayor said he was asking the council to rethink the plans.

He described the funding request as "a preposterous cost escalation" and said the council needed to undertake a "total re-evaluation".

A county council spokesman said it was "considering recently received revised projections on costs and timings from its contractor Kier" and would "take a considered view on options available to it".

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