Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire King's Dyke level crossing bypass firm appointed

King's Dyke level crossing Image copyright Cambridgeshire County Council
Image caption The current crossing sees traffic delays when the barriers come down for slower freight trains

A new company has been appointed to build a level crossing bypass after estimated costs trebled to £39m.

Cambridgeshire County Council sought a new contractor for the King's Dyke project, near Peterborough, after the previous tender's costs rose.

Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK will begin the two-year scheme by the end of the year, a spokesman said.

He said the bypass and bridge would cut traffic delays - caused by freight trains passing through - by 13 minutes.

The road connects Peterborough and Whittlesey and crosses the Peterborough-Ely railway line.

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

Work around the level crossing was first mooted in the council's Local Traffic Plan in 2001.

The bypass project was originally expected to cost £13.6m, but a contract with Kier was terminated last summer after the construction firm's estimated costs trebled.

A second "rigorous tender process", completed in April, reduced the budget from the latest figure of £41.6m to £32m.

A Covid-19 "contingency budget" of £1.5m will also be set aside and "only used if necessary" if the construction schedule is affected, the council confirmed.

Steve Count, Conservative leader of the council, said the "bold decision" to retender "had clearly paid off".

"Almost £10m has been saved," he said, "compared to if we had awarded the previous contract in August last year.

"We will consider the impact Covid-19 might have, but we are still aiming to start on site by the end of the year, as promised."

Geraint Thomas, contracts director at Jones Bros, said they were "thrilled to have been appointed".

"We will be aiming to boost the local economy during construction, with opportunities for local suppliers as well as recruitment of apprentices and experienced operators," he said.

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