THE cost of a ‘landmark’ bridge which will connect Barnsley Interchange with the new-look town centre is set to rise to £12m – more than £4m over budget – by the time it’s completed.
The new Market Gate bridge over the railway line which is set to be in use by October will be a permanent replacement for the former Jumble Lane level crossing which was closed to improve safety in the area.
However, according to South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) documents, costs have increased significantly by £4.4m to £12m.
A further £2.5m was allocated by SYMCA following a meeting last week.
A report said: “Subsequent to the approval the scheme has encountered increased costs are a result of unforeseen delays and cost risks including the main contractor going into administration and diversion of uncharted gas mains.
“The scheme is at an advanced stage of delivery with costs fixed with the main contractor.
“It previously included ‘improvements to the public realm at both ends of the bridge’.
“These formed part of the contract outputs, however the public realm costs were excluded from the 2021 full business case as this focused only on the costs and benefits of the provision of the transport infrastructure (the bridge) in line with the transport business case approach and eligibility for Transforming Cities Fund.
“Costs now reflect the full scheme delivery including that public realm the total costs have increased by £4.4m.
“All costs are now known, final and contracted and therefore risks are no longer relevant.
“The original timetable proved to be ambitious given the dependence on the utility works, however the remaining actions with scheme opening in October 2023 would appear reasonable.”
NMCN had been identified as the preferred contractor but fell into administration within days of the initial contract being signed, leading Keltbray to step in.
A council spokesperson said: “The new Market Gate bridge will link the new town square with the transport interchange and Market Gate car park.
“It will be a landmark feature on the town centre skyline and will also open up more routes to the town centre through active travel on foot, bike, wheelchair or scooter.
“The former Jumble Lane level crossing was closed as part of Network Rail’s level crossing risk reduction programme.
“The aim of this work was to close level crossings where possible, to remove the risk to the national rail network.
“Network Rail has contributed £2m to the bridge this funding would have allowed the construction of a basic, functional footbridge over the railway.
“However, the council decided to explore more funding opportunities and to include it as part of the wider town centre regeneration.
“This would enable the construction of a more ambitious design which complements the Glass Works.”