County council launches claim for costs to repair defects on guided busway

Cambridgeshire County Council is again locked in litigation with construction contractor BAM Nuttall over its guided busway, seven years after their last dispute was settled.

A council spokesperson said: “We have lodged a formal claim with the court and are proceeding with legal action against BAM Nuttall.

"The claim is for the cost to repair defects on the guided busway. This follows a thorough review and advice from external legal and technical experts, who have assessed the work and the contract.”

The council said BAM Nuttall was defending the claim and if it went to court a trial was unlikely before late 2021 or possibly 2022.

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“It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are active,” the spokesperson said.

The busway uses former rail alignments to provide dedicated bus routes between central Cambridge and Huntingdon and Cambridge station and Trumpington. Services continue on normal roads to various other destinations from each end.

It opened in 2011 amid unresolved disputes between Cambridgeshire and BAM Nuttall over claimed defects.

BAM Nuttall in September 2013 agreed to pay Cambridgeshire £33m to settle a lengthy row over its construction in which the company had claimed £43m from the council.

A BAM Nuttall statement said: “The busway is a fantastic piece of transport infrastructure which has performed consistently and reliably.

“In the six years since the council’s consultants alleged that the busway would need hundreds of interventions each month, this has not come to pass. The engineering evidence shows that it will not come to pass in the future.”

The company said it had assured the council many times that it would rectify anything wrong with the busway design. 

BAM Nuttall will “explore the details of Cambridgeshire County Council’s claim” and was confident it could demonstrate to a court’s satisfaction that the design of the busway is not fundamentally defective and does not require the remedial works the council claims.

Mark Smulian

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