Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guided Bus Delays Detailed

There was a Guided Bus southern section local liaison forum this evening where the current status of the project was presented and heads up given on some potential problems on the horizon.

Overall, it has become necessary to delay the project opening by six months. The idea had been to get the busway open while some of the other parts of the infrastructure (eg the Longstanton Park and Ride, CCTV) were still not fully operational, but with a few late construction difficulties in the northern section, the delivery date has been put back until the whole northern section of busway should be ready, expected now to be this Autumn.

There is a more significant engineering problem in the Southern section. A high-pressure gas main runs under the guided bus route through the cutting between Shelford Rd and Hauxton Rd. Despite being in contact with the County since 2002, the National (gas) Grid only informed the County last week that they might need to carry out further maintenance work before the busway can be laid. Potentially this could introduce a six month delay to completing the southern section, although the County Council are trying to find ways to limit the impact of any work on the schedule.

The Hills Road bridge works have also proved problematic in engineering terms - tunnelling through the bridge whilst keeping the road open involves installing concrete pillars through the road, building a concrete platform and tunnelling under it, whilst avoiding the utilities pipes and gas pipe under the pavement, which has proved trickier than first thought.

However after several delays, the last phase of single-lane work on the Hills Road bridge has now been rescheduled for 6-15 April (including Easter weekend). It is hoped that the works on the bridge should be complete by mid-August.

Finally, after continued complaints (from Cambridge Cycle Campaign, ourselves and others) about road safety during the works, the police will be out on Hills Road bridge tomorrow (Wed 14 Jan). In theory they are supposed to be there to ticket cars who overtake cyclists aggressively, but in the past they have been just as keen to ticket cyclists cycling on the pavement so be warned. As ever our advice is that if you can't face cycling over the bridge on the roadway, then you should always walk with your bike on the pavement.

Overall it is disappointing news, but services should still be running long before the housing developments the system was designed to support are built.

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