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Luton busway deal this month

Contractor Bam Nuttall is expecting to finally sign its contract for the £89M Luton Dunstable busway project this month.

Confirmation of the contract award was delayed by contractual issues and the General Election.

A Luton Borough Council spokesman told NCE the contract would be awarded by the end of the month.

Bam Nuttall was named preferred bidder at the beginning of March.

A Bam Nuttall source said the company did not expect to conclude the deal until a new government had been established.

“We have the finance in place. There are still a few contractual things being sorted out, but the Election is not helping,” said the source.

The busway will link the town centres of Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis, Luton Airport Parkway station and Luton Airport along 12km route.

The service will use specially adapted buses capable of running on their own track and on the public roads. Around 8km of the route will be a guided busway.

Up to £80M of funding will be provided by the Department for Transport with the remainder provided by local authorities and private investors.

Following further detailed design work, the main construction phase of the busway is due to start in December with completion scheduled for April 2012.

Bam Nuttall remains the UK’s leading contractor in guided busway construction, after building similar schemes in Crawley and Cambridgeshire.

It is currently working with Cambridgeshire County Council to tackle problems that have delayed the opening of the £117M Cambridgeshire scheme.

The foundations along one section are one of six issues holding up the opening of the route from St Ives to Cambridge.

Testing

Last week it agreed to carry out borehole soil testing to ensure foundations are sufficiently robust. The council said Bam Nuttall had indicated to its transport bosses that it expected to meet its self imposed mid-June deadline for completing soil testing.

Other work carried out on the troubled scheme in the past two weeks includes proposals to tackle water leakage on the River Great Ouse viaduct.

Bam Nuttall has submitted a design for a new watertight joint and the council has asked for a series of amendments to be incorporated.

Council experts have also met Bam Nuttall to address water ponding in the St Ives station car park. It is still expected that the contractor will meet the 19 May deadline for submitting a revised car park design.

Bam Nuttall has provided the preliminary work by its designers on raising the busway’s maintenance track to prevent ponding.

The contractor has also submitted a fire risk assessment to prove that the use of recycled tyres as a drainage medium between the tracks is appropriate.

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