Why was rail bridge cost ignored in Ely Bypass decision?

by johnwilliams on 12 April, 2018

In 2007 Network Rail and Kier built a new railway bridge across the Great Ouse in the same location has the Ely Southern Bypass.  This steel and concrete bridge at 100 metres wide cost £9 million.

Yet 4 years later the Conservative cabinet running Cambridgeshire County Council accepted that it would cost just £28 million to build a mile of road and a bespoke viaduct to span the river and two railway lines.

Is there something more to this than poor judgement?  I think so.

Just three years on the cost had risen to £36 million and now we are facing a bill of £49 million.  It is clear that if the true cost had been known in 2011 it is doubtful the bypass with its bespoke bridge would have got Government funding.

The county would have had to look for a different way to provide the bypass.  Perhaps an ordinary bridge and a route further to the south?  But time was ticking for the Conservatives in the 2017 county and Mayoral elections.

Now we have to borrow more money – £13 million.  The same Conservative councillors that have been saying its a small price to pay are the same ones telling us before that we couldn’t borrow more money to repair our crumbling roads and footpaths because paying it back would lead to more cuts in front line services.

Well we certainly can’t now and yes it will.

Did £13 million of public money buy Conservative votes in Ely at last year’s elections?


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