Public art for St Ives Guided Busway, but still no opening date

THE busway may not have any passengers or an opening date, but it does have several pieces of public art that travellers can admire when services eventually get under way. Unique glass panels have been installed at the busway stops at Swavesey, Longstanto

THE busway may not have any passengers or an opening date, but it does have several pieces of public art that travellers can admire when services eventually get under way.

Unique glass panels have been installed at the busway stops at Swavesey, Longstanton park-and-ride and Oakington. The designs are inspired by the Cambridgeshire countryside and have had input from the arts forum.

The stop at Swavesey was inspired by the RSPB at nearby Fen Drayton Lakes, which contributed to the costs.

Seating walls - one in each parish - will also be installed along the route so people using the path next to the track have places to stop and enjoy the countryside, Cambridgeshire County Council said.


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At the two new busway park-and ride sites at St Ives and Longstanton there are unique paving slabs with digital time capsules under them. The images and material on the digital time capsules come from members of an arts forum set up for the project.

The 'gems' project at Trumpington park-and-ride, where a glass prism will display a film showing places local people have said are special to them along the route. Residents have shown the artist around these locations and feature in the film.

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Bob Menzies, the county council's head of busway delivery, said: "It is a planning requirement of all major developments that public art is included, and the busway is no exception.

"The budget for art is a tiny fraction of the overall cost of the route and has already been welcomed by other local councils and organisations who contributed towards the cost."

A date for the start of the Guided Bus services remains shrouded in mystery.

Promoter Cambridgeshire County Council is locked in a dispute with the contractor, BAM Nuttall, over huge cost overruns of tens of millions of pounds that will almost inevitably result in a lengthy case in the High Court.

In the meantime, both parties know that any public statement has the potential to be hugely expensive.

So the county is saying it is the contractor's hands and will announce a new date for the busway to open when it is in a state to be handed over for commissioning and final driver training.

Last week, a CCC spokesman added: "BAM Nuttall will be reprogramming their finishing works in light of the prolonged cold snap. For example, they can lay tarmac when it is this cold, but they can't easily pour concrete to do minor repairs. It is too cold."

And BAM says it is up to its client the county council to name an opening date. "That is the agreement," a spokesman said.

For either to say more could seriously compromise their legal positions, they are being advised, so the travelling public is still on the A14.

The whole project was originally scheduled to be handed over in February last year and to open in April.

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