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Beleaguered busway to open in August

The dispute-ridden Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will open on 7 August following remedial works, it has been announced.

Cambridgeshire County Council bosses have announced that the busway will open on a Sunday to help get the service up and running before commuters begin using the route.

The project has been beset by delays and disagreements between the council and contractor Bam Nuttall, when contract disputes arose when six “defects” were identified by the council.

Bam Nuttall handed the project over last month, before Jackson Civil Engineering was brought in to correct the problems.

One of the “defects” involved a cycleway alongside the busway that was prone to flooding in some places. Work to raise the affected sections is expected to begin later in August, or in September.

A council spokesman said this work was always scheduled for late summer. However, the council said that a separate section of cycleway alongside the busway − which was not part of Bam Nuttall’s original work − will be open to cyclists by 7 August.

Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet member growth and planning Ian Bates said: “Since the route was handed over to us, our absolute focus has been to get buses running on the track as soon as possible.

“It is great news to finally announce the date people will be able to begin taking advantage of this fantastic new service.”

The new link will run between Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge, giving residents an alternative to the long queues and uncertain journey times on the busy A14.

Stagecoach and Whippet Coaches, who will run the services, are now registering the new busway routes with the traffic commissioner. Timetables, stops and routes for the different services will be published next week.

It is anticipated around 3.5M trips will be taken on the busway each year. The dedicated track for guided buses will mean passengers will be able to travel by public transport between St Ives Park & Ride and the Science Park in Cambridge in just 20 minutes.

The busway will be the longest track of its kind in the world and includes two new Park & Ride sites at St Ives and Longstanton with spaces for hundreds of cars, and covered cycle parking.

Cambridge Gateway – a project to improve bus, cycle and pedestrian access into Cambridge railway station – was completed earlier this year, and the new link to Hills Road will also open on 7 August to tie in with the start of Busway services.

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