December 9 2013 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Fenland and East Cambridgeshire are within a hair’s breadth of taking the lion’s share of a £14.1m pot of money given by the Government for infrastructure improvements.
The county council and other partners- including Network Rail- are expected to provide the rest so that three major schemes can begin the first as early as next April.
The county council’s shadow transport board heard on Friday there had been no major obstacles to work done already on the schemes and finalisation of the agreement with Government is expected shortly.
Success for the three local projects is even the more remarkable considering 29 schemes were originally submitted, 20 from Cambridgeshire and nine from Peterborough.
Since the beginning of the year those schemes were whittled down to just six and a planning application for the first – the £30m Ely bypass- was described to committee members as being “imminent.
“These six schemes were chosen after consideration of various elements including political, risk, economic and deliverability factors, amongst others.”
The board was told of an expectation that the Department of Transport “will sign-off the assurance framework and confirm the Local Transport Board (LTB) funding to 2019 within the coming weeks.”
In all the three Fenland and East Cambs projects will soak up over £10m of the available cash, with £6m going towards the A142 Ely southern bypass.
The board was assured that the Ely bypass “is at an advanced stage in terms of detailed assessment and appraisal, and a planning application is expected imminently.”
The proposal allows for a 1.7 mile single carriage way bypass including viaduct over the river and flood plains and a two span bridge over the Cambridge and Newmarket rail lines.
Work could start as early as April 2015 and be completed with two years.
In Whittlesey there will be relief that a £3m contribution towards the estimated £13.5m cost can deliver a bridge or underpass.
“The A605 Kings Dyke scheme is at an advanced stage of developing the business case and designs are being developed,” said the report. It, too, could have a 2016 start date.
Both the Ely and Whittlesey schemes “have been endorsed by cabinet as priorities who have committed borrowing/funding and negotiations are also in an advanced stage with Network Rail for their contributions.”
The third scheme to benefit will be the estimated £6.15m plan to re-open a rail station at Soham for which the board will contribute £1m.
The scheme, councillors were told, has progressed to stage three of the eight delivery stages evolved by Network Rail for improvements.
“The case for development is looking positive,” the board was told. “It is considered that this scheme will support regeneration and housing growth locally and it has significant partner support.”
It is hoped that if work begins in 2016 its completion could coincide with a second plan by Network Rail to introduce double tracking between Ely and Soham.
One other scheme which won through the ‘X Factor’ style selection was a contribution of £2m towards improvements to junction 20 of the A15 where it meets the A47 at Peterborough.