Bridge can go hang
PLANS for a £1million foot and cycle bridge over the River Nene at Wisbech have been scrapped because the money is needed elsewhere. The bridge would have linked Old Market and the Nene Quay area of town and formed part of the £47million Nene Waterfront R
PLANS for a £1million foot and cycle bridge over the River Nene at Wisbech have been scrapped because the money is needed elsewhere.
The bridge would have linked Old Market and the Nene Quay area of town and formed part of the £47million Nene Waterfront Regeneration scheme.
But council officials admitted this week the bridge had been deferred because of the higher-than-expected costs of remediating the former gas works and other sites.
Gary Garford, director of business and infrastructure, agreed the bridge was an "innovating element of the project" but the money has been re-directed to cover the increased remediation costs.
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"We carried out additional site investigations and potential costs have increased. We are providing sites ready for developers, remediating the land to a developable level otherwise they could not be developed in the private sector because of the costs involved."
Mr Garford said £10.2million of the overall regeneration project was available for public element works and it boiled down eventually to choices.
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He said the specification for the Boathouse complex (above) had been increased and this formed a critical part of the scheme that would deliver 160 jobs.
"We had to weigh risks and costs against the benefits, and that included the benefit of delivering the Boathouse and the need to remediate the sites," he said.
Mr Garford said tenders for extensive remediation were going out this week and the work should start in January.
He said the council had looked at pedestrian movements and improvements would be made to ensure people could travel safely into and out of the area. Phase one of the pedestrianisation was on target and it is "exciting times, with the Boathouse steelworks starting next week and set for completion by July 2008".