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21 September 2010, 15:59
There is going to be an independent public review into the problems that have plagued the Cambridgeshire guided busway project.
It's as Cambridgeshire County Council once again criticises the contractors building the link between St Ives and Cambridge - this time for "potentially putting safety at risk".
The authority claims BAM Nuttall tried to drop plans specified in the project's contract to install lighting at a junction where buses will change onto a stretch of single track guideway.
Councillors claim the firm had to be told twice that this lighting is "critical for safety", BAM Nuttall accepted the lighting needs to be installed.
Now, an independent public review into the while project will be carried out.
A small team of experts will gather and hear evidence in public and publish a final report.
It's hoped the investigation will give the council and residents a full report into the problems that the busway has faced, without the need for a costly and lengthy full public inquiry.
Roy Pegram, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning, said: "I am shocked that an internationally renowned contractor would even consider not installing lighting on a section of the route where it is needed for safety.
To need to be told twice it is needed is even more worrying.
The numerous delays and overspends by BAM Nuttall have angered everyone in Cambridgeshire and I’m sure the contractor potentially putting safety at risk will also be the final straw for residents as it has been for senior councillors.
A full review of the standard civil engineering contract is vital to make sure other people who use this contract do not have the problems we have faced with BAM Nuttall.
As this is a matter of national importance we will be contacting the Government to ask for funding for the independent review."
The project is massively over-budget and delayed.
Buses were supposed to be carrying passengers up and down the completed busway by April 2009.
Due to this, the county council says court action against the contractor is "inevitable".
The independent public review will be carried out after any legal proceedings have been completed to avoid a prejudicial outcome.
BAM Nuttall is unable to comment on these latest developments due to a clause in it's contract with Cambridgeshire County Council.