COMPLETION certificates for the St Ives-Cambridge guided busway have been delayed at least until March 4, having previously been promised by the contractor for a month earlier, Cambridgeshire County Council said on Tuesday. This means there is no prospect of the busway opening for public services before August, and the council is treating the March 4 date as another opportunity for contractor BAM Nuttall to miss. The busway at 25km the longest guideway in the world was due to have been handed over two years ago in February 2009 and to have opened the following April. The £116million project is estimated to have cost about £180m, and the council has said it will demand £45m back from BAM when the contractor hands over the final completion certificate and leaves the site. In the meantime, penalties for late delivery are being deducted at the rate of almost £14,000 a day more than £9m so far. BAM has completed the final piece of major construction work after being chased for progress by the councils chief executive Mark Lloyd, a spokesman said. BAM Nuttall have now said they plan to submit a number of design certificates by March 4, but the contractor has not given dates for when all the certificates will be submitted and so further delay is likely. These certificates are essential for the council to be confident that the scheme has been built correctly and the project manager, who is independent of both the council and BAM Nuttall, cant certify it as complete until the most important certificates for the main structures have been received and are satisfactory. Once the final certificate is received, the council has three weeks to accept it, then BAM has a further 28 days to rectify what the council claims are faults, something the contractor disputes, before another firm can come in to do the three months work. Once the guideway is complete, operators Stagecoach and Whippet have to train their drivers on it before they can accept passengers. Even August is starting to look unlikely.