Guided bus will open with ‘defects’ still to be fixed

ONE of the six outstanding ‘defects’ in the St Ives-Cambridge section of the guided busway is unlikely to be corrected before the guideway opens.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet already has a contractor on stand-by to fix what the council says are major faults with the project – unsealed expansion joints on the viaduct at St Ives, the gradient in the town’s park-and-ride car park and the liability of long sections of the parallel maintenance track to flooding.

Next week, senior councillors will discuss how council engineers plan to fix defects on the busway if contractor BAM Nuttall continues to dispute there are problems and fails to rectify them within 28 days of the imminent end of the contract.

The other outstanding issues are:

n The need for an acceptable fire risk assessment and fire safety report to show the tyres are suitable to be used to help drain the busway track.

n Demonstration that gaps between the beams are wide enough to allow for expansion of the beams during periods of hot weather while giving a smooth ride for passengers.

n Satisfaction that the use of shallow pad foundations on some short sections of track where deeper piled foundations were originally planned is appropriate, and to show the track will not move over time and reduce the ride quality.

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In December, cabinet members agreed plans to fix three of the problems – charging the costs to BAM Nuttall – and a report published on Monday recommends actions on the final defects.

The council’s costs for the remedial work will be deducted from the five per cent of the contract value being held back from BAM Nuttall that should be paid to them after completion.

In addition, the council is deducting a penalty of almost �14,000 a day from BAM Nuttall for late delivery of the project until the contractor completes the contract – almost �9m has already been deducted.

Roy Pegram, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure and strategic planning, said: “It is frustrating that the council has had to do extra checks on BAM Nuttall’s works and correct what they have got wrong – but the route will be in tip-top condition when it opens.”