King's Dyke crossing: New builder sought as project costs rise

King's Dyke level crossing Image copyright Google
Image caption The new road will bypass the level crossing at King's Dyke in Cambridgeshire

A new company is being sought to construct a level crossing bypass after projected costs continued to spiral.

The project at King's Dyke, near Peterborough, was expected to cost £13.6m, but that almost trebled to £39m in estimates provided in June.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been working with construction company Kier to revise the costs, but said the company had now increased its estimate.

The council said it would be looking for a new company to deliver the work.

Kier's estimates for its role in constructing the project had risen from £15.8m to £26.2m, a council spokeswoman confirmed.

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

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

'Preposterous' cost hike

However, in June, the council requested a further £8.7m from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which controls the county's budgets for major infrastructure projects, bringing the total estimated cost of the project to £39m.

The combined authority described the hike as "preposterous" and the council said it would "consider its options".

On Wednesday, Kier returned with a revised - and increased - final design and price.

Council leader Steve Count said: "I am clear we should not now proceed with Kier as we cannot agree this final revised cost, which has considerably increased.

"It is a shame that we have been forced to wait so long to receive a price that is so clearly out of line with earlier and even revised expectations.

"My view is the quickest way now to get this much-needed crossing and bridge built would be to re-procure the work on the same route."

The King's Dyke crossing project will be discussed again at a council meeting on 15 August.

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