No deadline set for Cambridge guided busway completion
Stuart Ratcliffe reports on the guided bus timeline and costs for Look East
Contractors working on Cambridgeshire's guided bus route have not been set a deadline to complete the project.
The busway was planned for completion in spring 2009 but has been held up by a series of delays.
Brian Smith, executive director of environment services for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We don't have an opening date.
"We're disappointed with that. The next two or three weeks are critical in terms of the progress."
Mr Smith told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire that not setting a deadline would leave contractors BAM Nuttall responsible for any defects after the project has been handed back to the county council.
He said: "It's to do with a ten year defect period. We have to make sure that we've signed it off properly because if we haven't we would leave ourselves liable as the county council.
"If we sign it off properly then we know that any issues that come up in the next ten years will still fall to the contractor. So it's at a sensitive legal stage."
Mr Smith denied the lack of a deadline was simply down to the council not wanting to commit to a date.
He said: "If we gave the contractors an instruction to do that [complete the project by a certain date] they could use that as a claim against us for additional costs. It is a frustration and it is tied up with some of the deeper legal issues."
He added that the contractors were receiving financial punishments for the series of delays.
"The contractor did have a deadline, they should have finished the work by the end of last February," he said. "Since that date we have applied penalties to the contractor on a daily basis. It comes out as some £14,000 a day.
"They're not just sitting there laughing at us, it is costing them money. So they have an incentive to get this underway."
The guided busway is set to run from Huntingdon through St Ives and Cambridge, finishing at the Trumpington park and ride site.