Cabinet: New Year milestone for Access York project

28 Dec 2012 @ 4.02 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

Plans to progress one of the largest single investments in York’s transport infrastructure and enable the scheme to be submitted and approved by the Department for Transport (DfT) in the New Year will take a significant step forward next month.

Members will discuss plans outlined in a report going before Cabinet on Tuesday 8 January on the Access York scheme. Phase 1 of the project will enhance York’s Park & Ride network, which already provides over four million journeys every year, by replacing the Askham Bar Park & Ride site with a larger facility and creating a new site on the A59 near Poppleton.

The council published the official contract notice for the construction of the city’s Access York project in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) in June 2012.

The receipt of tenders for the work, received in December, was a key milestone for the project that will enable the Full Approval Application to be finalised and submitted to the DfT.

The tenders received have been assessed in sufficient detail to allow the DfT’s Full Approval documentation to be completed and the construction cost confirmed by the tender process can be accommodated within the overall project budget.

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “Access York is critical for the future economic prosperity and environmental wellbeing of the city.

“The £22.7m overall project represents one of the largest single investments in the city’s transport infrastructure since the northern ring road was built. It’s anticipated that approximately 70 per cent of the overall project costs will be provided by the DfT so this is a crucial stage for the scheme.”

This next step builds on the success of the council’s bid to gain DfT funding for the scheme in 2011, which would mean up to £3 of investment into the city for every £1 of council funding allocated to the scheme.

In November 2011 the government announced ‘accelerated approval’ of funding for 20 major schemes, including York’s Access York plans, as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. This enabled the council to complete the remaining legal and procurement processes for the schemes, which upon approval at Cabinet, will now follow a request for full and final approval to be made.

Clarification discussions will continue with the tenderers during the DfT evaluation period, prior to award. Other works on the project will be reviewed to further reduce costs to the council where possible.

Cabinet will be asked to increase the contingency allowance for the project by up to £750k via the Economic Infrastructure Fund, given the importance of the scheme to supporting economic growth. The costs submitted by the contractors to deal with the ground conditions at the Askham Bar site are higher than originally estimated.

Richard Wood, assistant director at City of York Council, said: “The construction of new Park & Ride sites is critical to supporting economic growth and improving York’s environment. The new Askham Bar site is located on a former landfill tip site so initial investigations on the ground conditions were undertaken as part of the project design and reflected in the cost estimates.

“The contractors have now allocated a higher risk allowance for dealing with the uncertainty of the ground conditions. This also reflects conditions included in the contract by the council to reduce its liabilities. Whilst we are now seeking to increase the contingency allowance for this major project we will be continuously looking to reduce costs by reviewing other works on the project and by working with the main contractor during the delivery stages.”

If approved at Cabinet, the Full Approval Application will then be submitted to the DfT. Cabinet are also being asked to approve advance works to ensure this key project is delivered to programme.

Subject to full approval being received from the DfT main construction works can then commence immediately from March 2013, with estimated completion for April 2014.

Details of the scheme are available on the council’s website.

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