It’s almost a year now since the news came out that the guided bus track is in need of major repair. The cost quoted then was £36 million if you did it straight away and upwards of £100 million is you just did it on a ‘make do and mend’ basis s you went along. And both of these would involve fixing a ‘fundamentally flawed’ design.
Neither of these costs includes any allowance for the wholesale cost of disrupting the economy of Cambridge whilst any repair works were taking place.
It’s back in the public domain now thanks to a Smarter Cambridge Transport report which says that yes it’s bad but maybe it’s much worse. This has prompted the County Council to confirm that it is persuing a legal action against BAM Nuttall to get the money to be able to effect the repairs. But we are nearly a year on and nothing seems to have happened.
Actually something has happened. Two developments, over and beyond the Smarter Cambridge Transport report, should make us stop and think.
The first is that we’ve now got a Mayor and a Combined Authority with a broad remit for transport schemes across the County and some money to go with it. And secondly the City Deal finally has imploded and been reincarnated as the Greater Cambridge Partnership with a new cast of characters but a continued mandate to spend significant sums to sort out Cambridge congestion problems.
Plus of course the A14 is being rebuilt as we speak.
So: as the guided bus sagea trundles on can we please have some evidence of joined up thinking? Can we have plans for Cambridge and Cambridgeshire which include a fresh look at the Guided Bus and which reflect (1) a co-ordinated approach of all the agencies involved; and (2) technology which is of the age that we live in and not just of the last century.
And just a thought but wouldn’t a broken up guideway be a rather convenient source of foundation material for the new A14 and all the new housing developments around us?