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Bridge club bids for public cash

THE PUBLIC is being asked for £1M by the Trustees of London's Millennium Bridge, it emerged this week.

However Millennium Bridge Trust project manager Malcolm Reading denied that the cash was needed to meet increased costs of construction. He said the money would go towards the opening day festivities and education and information programme.

The Trust has sent out an 'invitation' to would-be benefactors to join the 'Millennium Bridge 2000 Club'. Ordinary membership costs £500, while becoming a patron is priced at £1,000.

Reading said the recently conceived club was also a response to the 'upsurge in public interest' in the £15.9M project. In addition to a newsletter, a commemorative book and entitlement to attend the opening party in April next year, membership promises an individual's name engraved on the bridge.

Meanwhile, client Southwark Borough Council and the Trust are still in discussion with the Environment Agency over the extent to which scour protection placed as part of preliminary works must be removed after construction.

The Agency insisted both that extra protection be added and that much of it is removed after the cofferdams are extracted, as the rock used is not a suitable for river life (NCE 28 April).

The work could cost as much as £800,000 more than the original budget, a source recently estimated.

A spokesman for main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine said that any additional cost would be extra to the £12.9M fixed price contract. Reading contended the project was going well and to budget.

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