St Ives-Cambridge Guided Bus: May open in December

PUBLISHED: 09:52 09 July 2010 | UPDATED: 10:24 09 July 2010

The Guided Busway during a day of testing

The Guided Busway during a day of testing

GEOFF ROBINSON

The county council looks likely to have to fix the defects to the guided bus, but only when the southern section is finished... scheduled for about December time.

ALL hope of getting the St Ives section of the guided busway opened in advance of the heavily-delayed extension between Cambridge railway station, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Trumpington has been abandoned.

And it now looks as if the entire project will be opened in December – the target date for completing the southern section.

The whole project – originally costed at £116million and backed by £92.5million of Whitehall funding, but now expected to have cost more than £160million by the time it is finished – should have opened to traffic last spring.

Instead, no progress has been made on six ‘defects’ notified by Cambridgeshire County Council to the contractor BAM Nuttall on the northern section of the guideway between Meadow Lane, St Ives, and Cambridge Science Park.

Until the county council’s cabinet met on Monday and finally lost patience with BAM, the hope had been for the northern section – which should have opened in April last year, then September, then November – to enter service first after rectification of the six defects – which BAM maintains are not defects.

Now the cabinet has told officers not to waste any more time trying to negotiate an earlier start for the northern section – on the route of the disused St Ives-Cambridge railway line.

Work on the southern section is going well enough for the contractors’ revised deadline of completion in December this year, though some sources close to the project believe it could be earlier.

St Ives Councillor Roy Pegram, the county’s cabinet member for growth, infrastructure and strategic planning, said: “Enough is enough. The contractors know exactly what they need to do to correct these problems but, despite making promises that they will complete the works, and even setting out a self imposed timetable for doing the jobs, they are just not getting on with it.”

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