More news about Cambridge’s “Misguided” bus or BRT. Instead of being simple and cheap alternative to a ‘rail’ solution, the Cambridge BRT is ending up costing more than reinstating the rail line for DMU/EMU or tram service.
The real question needed to be answered will be: “For all the cost and delay, will the Cambridge guided (BRT) bus attract its projected customers or will it merely be regarded as a local transit curiosity and not attract the all important motorist from the car?”
Guided Busway to Open Next SpringChris Elliott
The guided busway may finally be up and running by next spring, the News can reveal.
Sources close to the project have disclosed that at the current rate of progress, it could take about seven or eight months to finish the concrete track completely and get it ready for the first buses to roll.
That will mean an opening date either in March or April 2011 – making the busway more than TWO YEARS late.
As the News reported a few days ago, Cambridgeshire county councillors are due to examine a progress report on the troubled scheme at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 7.
The report says that contractor BAM Nuttall has still not fixed six defects in the northern section of the busway, which runs between St Ives and Cambridge.
However, the company is making “good progress” on completing the southern section at Trumpington, and is expected to be finished there by mid-December.
If BAM Nuttall does complete the southern section by mid-December, the council will give the contractor a month to rectify the faults on the northern section – and if that does not happen, the council will step in to do the job itself.
Together with subsequent checks and bus trials, the News understands that this could stretch out the work until March or April – although if con¬struction of the southern section is completed more quickly, the timetable might be brought forward.
The defects identified by the council include raising the level of parts of the maintenance track alongside the busway, which has been flooded, and remedial work on the viaduct at St Ives, where rainwater has leaked through an unsealed joint.A county council spokesman said the council could not confirm that the busway would open by the spring.He said: “Whilst the contractor has said they will complete the route by mid-December, we are in their hands until the work has been completed.“We are very clear that the defects must be rectified and once the route is handed over we will know exactly what work the council will need to carry out and a more precise idea of how long that will take.“It is frustrating that BAM Nuttall have not finished the job as yet and although damages of over £7 million have already been deducted from the contractor all we really want is the work to be completed so we can get the route open and passengers can start using it.”Mike Mason, South Cambridgeshire district councillor for Histon and Impington, criticised the delays.
He said: “It’s a political disaster, and it’s never going to make money. The council have completely failed and there is no credibility in any of their statements because they’ve made so many predictions that haven’t happened.
“Any of the political parties on the council could have stopped this a long time ago, and all three political parties share equal blame, but the Cambridge taxpayer is going to pay the price.”