Cambridge roundabout plans on hold following financial concerns
Plans to upgrade the Coldhams Lane roundabout in Cambridge are set to be paused after a review found all the options would take the project significantly over budget.
The roundabout connects Coldhams Lane, Brooks Road and Barnwell Road, and is close to a Sainsbury’s superstore and Cambridge Airport.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority says it wants to improve safety on the roundabout, while making it easier to use for pedestrians and cyclists, all without having an adverse effect on traffic flows.
The pro-cycling campaign group Camcycle has described the roundabout as a “cycle safety black spot”.
Upgrading the roundabout formed part of the Combined Authority’s transport programme set back in 2017. Five options have been considered which vary in ambition, from adding additional crossings to creating a Dutch-style roundabout, something similar to, albeit smaller in scale than, the one on Fendon Road, which has segregated cycleways and gives greater priority to non-motorised transport.
The transport authority said Cambridgeshire County Council commissioned an independent review of the costs, which found all five options could go “significantly above the £2.4million budget still available for construction”.
The cheapest option has been estimated to cost £2.5m, and the most expensive at £6.5m, with at least £5.8m estimated for a Dutch-style option.
An independent report found the cheapest option provided poor value for money, and that the option that provides “high” value for money has an estimated cost of around £3.2m.
A Combined Authority report says that after an assessment of the potential to find further funding from the county council, Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership, “these discussions have now concluded, and no further funding is currently forthcoming”.
In a report to its transport committee to be held on Wednesday (November 4), the CA says it is seeking to pause the project until the government has completed its comprehensive spending review. “A view will then be taken on affordability,” the report says.
The government’s spending review would give greater clarity on plans for local authorities’ finances over the next five years, and was due to take place this autumn, but the government announced that a one-year spending review is likely owing to the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the CA said that a decision on the Coldhams Lane roundabout project’s future may still be possible based on the one-year review.
The spokesperson said: “We would want to take stock regarding next steps, in addition to requiring an independent review of the value-for-money report.”
The report says the Combined Authority has already entered into a funding agreement with the county council to deliver the project, and the CA will now require the council’s permission to suspend payments.
The construction costs for the Fendon Road roundabout, which was also delivered by the county council, were criticised by councillors and residents after they rose from £800,000 to £2.4mn. In that case, the county council said at least part of the cost increase was related to underground cabling work ,for which it blamed utility companies.