Council To Debate Cambridgeshire Busway Legal Advice

Cambridgeshire County Councillors are to discuss whether the company that built the Guided Busway should pay for £31 million of alleged defects with the route.

The authority says the General Purposes Committee will meet on Monday to hear independent advice, which claims "that there is a strong case to have the defects fixed and paid for by the contractor."

The council adds that the alleged defects "will and do affect ride quality there are no safety issues but if left could mean the ride quality would continue to deteriorate."

Technical advice given to the authority is said to "suggest that Bam Nuttall is responsible for defects on the Busway."

The report claims some parts of the Busway were either not built to the agreed design or don’t comply to national standards specified in the contract.

The alleged defects include:

  • Shims and neoprene pads were put in without being fixed so they now slip and cause movement of the beams, effecting ride quality.
  • Foundations were not deep enough as outlined in national guidelines on certain sections so they could move in the clay conditions.
  • Inadequate drainage at two locations.
  • Joints between the guideway beams that were too narrow to allow for thermal expansion of the beams.
  • Some bearings were identified as being out of position. 
  • Beams not being restrained enough by brackets so they move.

A statement from the council says: "Councillors will hear that the legal advice is that this is a breach of contract and that the Council has a good case and should pursue the contractor for the money to pay for the necessary repairs.

The report outlines advice on the best way to recoup the costs and advises how to fix the defects along the Busway.

Officers are recommending that a programme of works should start to rectify the problems subject to being paid for by the contractor. 

This could be done in stages with sections closed at a time and bus services able to join and leave unaffected stretches of guideway."

Bob Menzies, Service Director, Strategy and Development, said: "The technical and legal advice is that these defects were created or left by the contractor and they should be fixed.

More importantly this should be paid for by Bam Nuttall. 

The Busway is a highly successful transport system that reached its passenger targets early and is used for millions of journeys. 

We have fixed some of the defects but the advice is if we leave them then beams could move seriously effecting ride quality. 

The Committee will look at this independent expert advice and make a decision on the best way forward."

BAM Nuttall say they are not prepared to comment at this stage.

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