Councillor Vines asked could the Transport Spokesperson please inform him what was the total cost of building this bus route from Sheffield to Rotherham, why had this project risen by reported a staggering £8 million, who was expected to pick up the bill for this and who was responsible for this gross incompetence?
The Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods, as the Transport Representative, agreed to provide a fuller answer to Councillor C. Vines, but confirmed that the Bus Rapid Transport North project was being delivered in Partnership with SYPTE, Sheffield City Council and Rotheham Council and was part financed by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme 2007-13, Department for Transport, the Growing Places Fund from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the South Yorkshire Local Transport Plan.
The current estimated final cost of the scheme, which included highways infrastructure in Rotherham and Sheffield including a new link road under the M1 at Junction 34 south was £37,665,479 which had raised from £29,762,744 at Full Approval a total change of £7,902,735.
Each partner led on the delivery of infrastructure for which they were responsible, and carried the risks associated with any cost overrun on this. In summary the infrastructure to be delivered included:-
· RMBC: new bus lanes on A6178 Sheffield Road and improvements to Ickles Roundabout (all complete).
· SCC: new link road under the M1 Tinsley Viaduct and bus priority measures along the Lower Don corridor.
· SYPTE: new bus stop and shelter infrastructure.
The cost change has been brought about by a combination of on-site issues relating to the new link road under the M1 including:-
· Unexpected notification of the need to divert a Yorkshire Water Sewer. The Statutory Undertaker surveys and enquiries undertaken during the design process failed to identify the service which was located in a critical area for the construction of one of the main bridge structures in a timescale which would have allowed the works to be included in the works schedule and programme.
· The discovery of asbestos fibres on site has necessitated a comprehensive testing and land remediation work phase.
· The discovery of asbestos on site was unforeseen as the pre start asbestos surveys that were undertaken did not indicate or identify the presence of asbestos. The introduction of CIRIA guidance in February 2014 has required that a specific and thorough approach be followed in dealing with the asbestos.
· The discovery of unexploded ordnance on site. Since the commencement of the asbestos remediation there have been six incidents which have required the site team to invoke the unexploded bomb (UXB) protocol. Four of these incidents were confirmed bombs which were safely removed from site. All of these incidents have required evacuation of the site until the items have been made safe and have delayed the works.
In terms of the funding, Sheffield City Council were leading on the project and they would be responsible for the cost not other partners.
In a supplementary question Councillor C. Vines was surprised to hear that it was not known about the ordnance and asbestos on site and had Engineers consulted with local people they would have learnt about the history of that particular area.
Councillor Turner made a request that the bus shelter on Morthen Road adjacent to Council properties be erected. He had made the request to the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive who confirmed that they could not afford such a scheme, yet this scheme was already £8 million over budget.
The Mayor suggested that this matter be fed into the Transport Committee at one of their meetings.