Delays and cost hikes hit Balfour Highlands rail job

Grant Prior 3 years ago
Share

Balfour Beatty has been forced to push-back the completion date of its £16m contract to repair the UK’s highest railway.

The Scottish Government’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) agency has confirmed the Cairngorm furnicular will not reopen until the “second half of 2022.”

The railway at the ski resort was due to reopen early next year following strengthening work on the 1.9km viaduct that supports the track.

Balfour began work in April 2021 but delays have arisen due to “technical challenges associated with designing and implementing effective solutions to an existing structure, as opposed to a new build.”

Work has also been hampered by the impact of Covid and extreme weather including blizzard conditions in the spring.

HI added that “extra effort has also been required to source vital construction materials that are currently in short supply across the UK.”

HIE interim chief executive Carroll Buxton said: “We’ve always been upfront in describing the reinstatement programme as one of the most complex and difficult civil engineering projects in Scotland.

“As well as managing technical challenges, the team has to take great care to protect the mountain environment, and deal with difficult terrain and extreme weather conditions that can quickly become hazardous.

“The original schedule was very ambitious, even without the impacts of the pandemic lasting as long as they have and before the more recent problems in sourcing construction materials of suitable quality.

“With limited time available to complete these works before winter, postponement has become inevitable.”

The funicular was built by Morrison Construction and opened in 2001 but was taken out of service in 2018 after an engineers’ inspection identified structural defects that raised safety concerns.

Buxton said: “We’re now working with our designers and contractors on a revised schedule for the remainder of the project.

“Harsh mountain conditions mean that all work will need to halt over winter and resume next spring. To ensure safety, there also needs to be a period of testing and certification at the end of the programme, so our current expectation is that the funicular can be relaunched in autumn 2022.

“Clearly, a longer timescale will also have a financial impact. We’ll be reviewing costs very carefully and will publicly confirm a revised budget as soon as it’s possible to do so.”

HIE has also approved up to £780,000 for an extensive refurbishment of the Ptarmigan building that sits on the plateau and includes the UK’s highest restaurant, a shop, exhibition space and viewing platforms.

Following competitive tender, resort operator Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd (CMSL) has awarded a contract for the first phase of the Ptarmigan works to Simpson Builders Ltd, based in Beauly. The refurbishment is due to start at the end of August and be completed by the end of 2021.

 

Latest news

Employee-owned Neilcott staff share £250,000 payout

Employee-owned building contractor sales jump 38% to £139m
6 hours ago

Geoffrey Osborne supply chain hit for £26m

More than 500 suppliers and subcontractors left holding unpaid bills
3 days ago

Race for £800m South West Wales framework

Up to 16 firms face fight to renew spots on regional contractors framework
13 hours ago

SME contractors agree 4% pay rise for site workers

Workers will also get an extra day of holiday
3 days ago

South East expansion paying off for Meldrum Group

Turnover up to £55m as North East based contractor expands national coverage
5 hours ago

Wates boosts paternity leave to 12 weeks

Latest leave benefits apply from first day of working for contractor
6 hours ago

Taylor Wimpey chief honoured with CBE

Jennie Daly recognised in King's Birthday honours
2 days ago

Labour to mothball £320m A27 job to fix potholes

Manifesto confirms Arundel Bypass canned as "poor value for money"
3 days ago

Lendlease’s £1.9bn Smithfield Birmingham scheme approved

Initial work to start later this year despite questions over Lendlease's degree of involvement
3 days ago

Crest Nicholson rejects £650m Bellway bid

Second Bellway approach rebuffed
4 days ago

Hill submits £800m East London estate rebuild plan

Over 1,900 homes to be built in five phase at Teviot Estate in Poplar
4 days ago

Plan approved for 8,500-seat Edinburgh indoor arena

Construction expected to start next year once a contractor is appointed
3 days ago

Statom starts on £25m Bristol Airport precast car park

Major work package on transport upgrade being overseen by Griffiths Farrans JV
4 days ago

Build problems plunge Crest Nicholson to a £31m loss

House builder unearths more defects on completed sites
4 days ago

Rebooted Amey lifts contract win rate to 1 in 3 bids

Amey chief says firm exceeded expectations in first year under new owners
4 days ago

BAM Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned

Court hears how series of safety failures led to tragedy
5 days ago

OCU buys Scottish civils contractor RJ McLeod

Deal takes multi-utility infrastructure specialist revenue to over £800m
5 days ago

£220m plan to restore secret wartime tunnels approved

Tunnels under High Holborn to become cultural exhibition space
5 days ago

Galliford Try wins £69m Scottish school job

Deal sealed on Paisley Grammar School project in Renfrewshire
4 days ago

Balfour wins design for £690m Skye transmission job

Main work contract for 137km power line to be awarded later this year
5 days ago

Student and resi developer Fortis goes under

Cheshire based developer follows construction arm into liquidation
5 days ago

Construction output falls for third month running

Heavy rain and strong winds blamed for sharp fall in activity in April
5 days ago

Plan in for Leeds 27-storey block of flats

390 flats planned at former Morgan Sindall office site
5 days ago

Firms readied for £1.5bn Parliament estate upkeep deal

Invitation to tender due to go out next month
6 days ago

Amey switches kit supplier

Deal with HSS was worth £24.5m a year to rental specialist
5 days ago

Track workers scatter to avoid runaway rail trolley

Track trolley careers 1km towards work site
5 days ago

Direct delivery model pays off as Murphy profit soars to £67m

Group operating margin jumps from 3% to 5% in record year
6 days ago

Ex-Galliard boss to lead Battersea next building phase

Don O’Sullivan joins as plans advance to start phase 3C of power station redevelopment
6 days ago

£100m Digbeth 33-storey flats job out to bid

483 flats will be delivered for Clarion housing association
6 days ago

Van Elle fined £233,000 after piling rig kills driver

Court hears how tragedy was caused by poorly maintained plant
6 days ago

Contractor services