A project to replace the Great Howard Street Bridge on the A565 in Liverpool has seen construction costs grow by more than £1m due to delayed service diversions and “unforeseen issues”, according to the council.
The A565 is one of the city’s principal transport routes linking Sefton and the city centre and the docks. The works included replacing a weak bridge over a disused railway line, allowing more road freight to use the route without a weight limit.
Contractor Graham was awarded the £6.7m deal through Highways England’s Collaborative Delivery Framework, which is backed by the Department for Transport and £1.2m of funding from Liverpool City Council’s match funding. Works started in July 2016.
However, the project’s construction costs are now facing a budget increase of £1.3m, rising from £6.7m to £8m, after a number of impacts on programme and cost. The overall project is now expected to cost around £10m.
According to the council, these include unforeseen ground conditions, delays to service diversions by service providers, and additional instructions. Additional instructions included the retention of existing cast iron columns on the bridge due to their historic value, and the addition of parapet artwork and other improvements to the surrounding area.
The council said these instructions were not confirmed prior to the project going out to tender “due to the urgency to commence the works on site”, but added the additional works were only instructed “when value for money was confirmed and required approvals were in place”.
Graham has worked with the council to value engineer the project, and steps have been taken to keep costs down, including reusing existing drainage where possible, instead of replacing it.
The council added the budget for the project needed to be increased “as a matter of urgency” to make sure it meets contractual deadlines and “the contractor is paid in a timely manner”.
The additional funding for the project will come out of contingency allowances originally agreed in the original budget, with an additional £300,000 to be used from the city’s £80m highways investment fund.
Final project costs are yet to be confirmed, and the council said any further funding shortfall would be “highlighted as soon as possible”.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet is due to discuss the proposals at a meeting on 26 January.