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Fresh problems hit flagship £32m A605 King’s Dyke crossing at Whittlesey

Jones Bros to check ‘why these cracks have appeared’

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For the second year following completion of the £32m King’s Dyke crossing at Whittlesey it is a return to one way traffic after further safety checks were ordered. Last year’s repairs were to carry out “final off-road remedial work” but on Friday Cambridgeshire County Council said that traffic lights were being re-instated for further safety checks.

“The westbound carriageway, heading to Peterborough, on the Ralph Butcher Causeway at King’s Dyke has been temporarily closed,” said a county council spokesperson.

“One lane has been temporarily closed using two-way traffic lights, as a precaution, after some cracks have appeared on the edge of the road.

“This is in place while our contractor, Jones Bros, carry out some tests which will involve digging into the road.”

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The council says Jones Bros will be doing the tests “to see why these cracks have appeared, some movement is always expected while the road settles.

“We will be keeping the situation under constant review”.

The council spokesperson added: “Other work will be carried out at the same time, such as clearing the drains and testing the safety barriers.

The council says Jones Bros will be doing the tests “to see why these cracks have appeared

Kings Dyke crossing opens – 50 years after campaign began. Whittlesey, Peterborough July 2022. Picture by Terry Harris.

“We’d like to thank people for their patience during this time and further information will be provided in due course, but it is expected one lane will be closed for at least a week.”

In October 2022 The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board (CAPCA) agreed extra funding for the bridge partly because of the need to fill-in Star Pit to support the bridge embankment.

CAPCA said this was a “a complex engineering challenge which will need more additional work than originally envisaged by Cambridgeshire County Council and their contractor and hence requires booster funding”.

The contract to build the bridge was won by Jones Bros of Wales after the county council went back to the market after failing to agree a final price with their original preferred bidder Kier was dropped.

The work was originally awarded to Kier in August 2017 under a two-stage design and build contracts, but costs spiralled following completion of the design.

Then council leader Steve Count said at the time of Kier: “It is a shame that we have been forced to wait so long to receive a price that is so clearly out of line with earlier and even revised expectations.”

He said: “I am clear we should not now proceed with Kier as we cannot agree this final revised cost which has considerably increased.”

The council said as a result of finding a new contractor the total required budget for the project had reduced from £41.6m to £32m.”

Jones has been widely praised for their efforts, picking up on the way three awards at the CIPR East Anglia Awards to recognise community involvement in a landmark project

But in April of last year, it was revealed a nine-week programme of works was needed to “finish up on site and carrying out final off-road remedial work”.

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The contractors explained that “once a new road is built, there is often the need for what we call ‘remedial’ work.

“At the end of any major scheme there is a period where the project gets ready to finish up and final checks are completed to ensure our high standards of quality are met”.

The project team said: “While this work is carried out, there will be 24/7 temporary two-way traffic lights installed along Ralph Butcher Causeway starting on 19 April for nine weeks, although we hope to finish sooner if possible.

“Last year, there was a focus on Star Pit and a piled wall was installed below ground level. That work allowed the road’s embankment to be built on top.

“As part of this final check, Cambridgeshire County Council and Jones Bros have agreed further work is required at the top of the embankment.”

This included:

– Removing the safety barrier and fence between the rail bridge and the underpass structures

– Replacing the top 1.2m of verge

– The installation of drainage

– Reinstalling the safety barrier

Other works included:

– Footpath resurfacing

– Gully installation and manhole connection

– Completing drainage cleansing and CCTV surveying works

For now, drivers into and out of Whittlesey and Peterborough can expect delays with the new set of traffic lights on the bridge.

CambsNews will report back if the one-week, one-way system is being extended.

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