Luton Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny board is to receive its first progress report on the £89M Luton to Dunstable Busway project next week.
Source: BBC News
“No additional funds available”
The body has called for regular update reports on the scheme to allow it to establish whether the project is proceeding on time and on budget. The first report is to be presented to its 31 August meeting.
The council’s executive committee made clear in its July meeting that the project had to be kept within budget as there are no additional council funds available.
Start of work on Luton’s scheme comes soon after the long-delayed opening of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway project.
Costs on that scheme soared above the £116.2M budget and legal action between Cambridgeshire County Council and its contractor Bam Nuttall is now pending (see box). Bam Nuttall is also contractor on the Luton project.
Luton’s Busway will link the town centres of Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Luton airport. Services will be provided by specially-adapted buses capable of running both on their own track and on public roads.
The majority of the busway will be a segregated route between Blackburn Road in Houghton Regis, through Dunstable, into Luton town centre and on to Kimpton Road, with most of this section being on the guideway.
The route will then continue on the highway towards Luton airport using a new bus lane.
Work well underway
Government funding of £80.3M has been awarded, with the total cost of the busway put at £89.2M including land and compensation, real time passenger information, 265 bus stop improvements and supervision of the works.
Detailed design work is underway, with site works proper due to start shortly. The 13.4km long busway is scheduled to open in 2012.
Vegetation clearance of the site took place earlier this year and it is expected that the track will start to be lifted in the autumn.
The demolition of disused railway bridges has begun and should be complete by the end of the year, with the exception of the Telford Way Bridge in Luton.
Further grief for Cambridgeshire busway
Cambridgeshire County Council has lodged a legal claim with the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) for money it claims it is owed by Bam Nuttall on its recently opened guided busway.
The TCC affirmed this week that a claim from the Cambridgeshire County Council had been received on 11 August.
Bam Nuttall will have four months and two weeks to acknowledge the claim. Until this happens, the claim details cannot be publicly revealed.