£4m cost for rail bridge

Picture by Alisdair Anderson
Picture by Alisdair Anderson

There could be more disruption looming for hard-pressed Biggleswade retailers in the long running saga of the High Street railway bridge.

A report due to go before Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive on Tuesday says more work needs to be done to complete its reconstruction.

The bridge was closed in December 2015 to allow its removal and replacement.

But a combination of horrendous storms over the Christmas period and the need to keep the railway lines open for as long as possible meant work which should have been completed by Easter was not finished until late June this year, causing misery for retailers and residents forced into a long detour around the town.

The bridge was reopened on June 26 but with a temporary parapet protection in place.

The scheme had been expected to cost around £2.5 million but there was a £1.3 million overspend by July 2016.

Now a further £800,000 is being allocated to finish the work, along with a futher £50k ‘risk pot’ in case there are further delays.

In the report officers state: “The works are not completely finished as there remains some work to strengthen the piers which will allow the removal of the temporary concrete barriers protecting the parapets.

“This work requires possessions of the railway to complete.

“These works are programmed to occur in possession of the railway in September and October 2016 with a reserve date in December 2016.

“There remains a risk that these possessions are not fully utilised and the allocation of an additional £50k risk pot is recommended.”