SGC hit by £7 million of extra MetroBus costs

Temporary water main installed opposite the junction of Bradley Stoke Way and Woodlands Lane.

Construction of the £102 million North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) MetroBus scheme that is currently being constructed through Bradley Stoke is forecast to be more than £11m over budget when it is completed next year, a new report by the West of England Partnership (WoEP) has revealed.

The news comes just weeks after South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), which is leading the NFHP project, reported that it was expecting it to be completed without any need to increase its own budgeted contribution of £30.9m, set at the start of the project in 2015. Further funding has come from central government (£51.1m) with the remainder being paid by Bristol City Council (BCC).

Because of the way the funding is arranged, with the government contribution being fixed and SGC committed to cover 61 percent of the remainder, SGC’s increased liability as a result of the projected overspend comes in at more than £7m, representing a massive 23 percent increase on the authority’s original budget.

The discovery of uncharted gas and water mains in Bradley Stoke is one of a number of factors being blamed for the increased costs. Protester action at the Stapleton allotments site, where a new bus-only junction on the M32 has been constructed, is another, along with “additional design, planning and contract management costs”.

The WoEP report states that SGC has “already put in place temporary funding to cover its share of a forecast costs increase up to £110.5m,” but no information about where this funding will come from has been published by SGC.

The report adds: “Further consideration is being given to identify funding to cover the SGC contribution towards the additional cost pressures as part of the 2017/18 capital programme budget setting process.”

Elsewhere in the report, it is revealed that proposals have been received from two bus operators to “provide services covering the majority of the MetroBus network”. Further engagement is said to be taking place to “determine how these services will be provided in the multi-operator environment, and to resolve any gaps in the network”.

Photo: Temporary water main on Bradley Stoke Way.

More information: Report to the West of England Joint Transport Executive Committee on 28th October 2016

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 27). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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