Guided bus - not before July

THERE is little chance of paying passengers being able to use buses on the St Ives-Cambridge guideway before July at the earliest.

In spite of assurances that construction work would be finished by December 17 last year – the latest of a series of missed dates – it now seems clear that it would take a fair wind for the last of 184 required construction certificates to be submitted by contractor BAM Nuttall to Cambridgeshire County Council by January 31.

A total of 164 certificates have been submitted, but three are still awaited for the northern section of the guideway – along the route of the disused St Ives-Cambridge railway – and 17 for the southern section – new build between Cambridge railway station and Trumpington and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Bob Menzies, the county council’s head of busway delivery, said on Monday: “Last year, BAM Nuttall stated publicly that construction of the busway would be completed by December 17, 2010, but they missed the date they set and have now declined to make another statement to inform residents when the work will be finished.

“Until BAM Nuttall finishes their work any dates for defects to be corrected and the route opening hinges on them and we are still in their hands.

“Although BAM Nuttall has declined to state another date, they submitted their latest construction programme to the council last week, and this shows they will complete landscaping on February 4 and the final construction certificates will be submitted on January 31.”

Then the council’s project manager has 21 days to verify the certificates followed by a 28-day window for BAM to correct defects, 10-12 weeks for CCC’s civil engineering contractor to fix what is outstanding. After that, four weeks’ driver training takes the project to late-June – but even that implies everything goes like clockwork.

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So even a July opening may be optimistic.