Combined authority funding boosts BP A10 roundabout scheme that could help deliver thousands of jobs in East Cambs
PUBLISHED: 16:40 14 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:40 14 June 2020
The i’s are being dotted, the t’s crossed before work starts – probably next month – on a £1.8m upgrade to the A10/A142 BP roundabout at Ely.
Coming up close behind it will be an £800,000 improvement scheme at the A142/Lancaster Way roundabout with work expected to start in January.
Fast track progress by a combination of councils and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA) has breathed stimulus into both.
The contract for Skanska to start work on the BP roundabout is expected to be signed this week. Consultations will begin shortly on options for the smaller roundabout along the A142.
Once both contracts complete, the county council is confident of not only ending the daily misery for thousands of commuters but also boosting job prospects.
Steve Cox, executive director, place and economy, at the county council says the BP roundabout improvements could generate just over 3,000 jobs; he believes three quarters of these will be filled locally.
He says the proposed improvements will enable the delivery of the enterprise zone at Lancaster Way business park second phase extension generating between 2,518 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs and 3,194 FTE jobs during the operational phase, once the full extent of the development is built out.
He said that of the 2,518 to 3,194 FTE jobs 1,888 and 2,395 FTE jobs would be created within East Cambridgeshire “the best start for Cambridgeshire’s children”.
Originally the Lancaster park owner Grovemere were committed to helping to fund improvements to the BP roundabout but worked with the county council and CAPCA to resolve issues at both roundabouts.
A feasibility study in 2018 showed the impact of the A142/Lancaster Way roundabout on the BP roundabout. CAPCA also prioritised the work after looking at the A10 through to Cambridge.
A working group including Grovemere, county councillors, East Cambs Council, CAPCA and Skanska, the design and build contractor, have now worked up their proposals.
Grovemere had previously secured a growth fund grant of £1,445,000 through the local enterprise partnership (later taken on by CAPCA) to help with the BP roundabout.
Mr Cox said with all parties working together the development of the design for both roundabouts began in March 2019.
At one point, he says, the discovery and need to remove a high-pressure gas main threatened to escalate costs, but once detailed design work was completed the costs dropped significantly.
“These utility company estimates are often higher at the earlier stages of design,” he said.
“As the detailed design stage commenced in November 2019, it led to a reduction in the budget required for these diversions, particularly with regard to the high- pressure gas main.
“The potential impact was understood from the gas company in March, which removed the risk of a potentially significant cost implication that may have rendered the scheme undeliverable.”
Mr Cox says agreeing the budget remained challenging and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic made it even more so.
“Whilst Covid-19 is the greatest risk to the project, a costed risk register has been produced to inform the general risk contingency budget,” says Mr Cox.
These risks, not the responsibility of the construction contractor, included:
Unforeseen adverse ground conditions
Contaminated ground increasing disposal costs
Unchartered or unexpected location of underground utility equipment
Delays to the diversionary work required by utility companies impacting on construction activity
Significant adverse weather conditions.
East Cambridgeshire District Council are considering approval of its proposed allocation of £150,000 in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding to the A142/Lancaster Way roundabout.
CAPCA has also proposed a specific additional risk allowance of £500,000 for the current and future impact that Covid-19 may have on the project.
A consultation on the proposed measures for the Lancaster Way roundabout is going ahead.
This consultation will take place from late July and run for an extended period of eight weeks. The council is looking at how best it can achieve this.
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