Cost inflation stalls £65m Carlisle Southern Link Road

Aaron Morby 3 weeks ago

Cumbria County Council and Morgan Sindall have parted ways after failing to agree a final construction price on the £65m Carlisle Southern Link Road project.

High-level road project stalls because of high cost inflation and sets back plans for 10,000-home Carlise village
High-level road project stalls because of high cost inflation and sets back plans for 10,000-home Carlise village

The council has now decided to retender the project in an attempt to bring the 8km road scheme in on budget.

It is the largest live road project so far to be stalled by industry-wide cost inflation.

Also the latest delay will be a major setback for a planned major housing scheme in the region, vital to the growth of Carlisle.

Carlisle Southern Link Road is key to the delivery of St Cuthbert’s Garden Village, a residential develoment which will see 10,000 homes built South of Carlisle by 2030.

Morgan Sindall started enabling works back in the Spring for the two-stage project.

As early as March 10, the contractor submitted a final offer that the council said ‘significantly exceeded the project budget’ and included a number of proposed changes to the Stage 2 contract.

As a result, the council deferred the award pending discussions with the chief funding body for the project, Homes England.

At the time a spokesperson for Cumbria County Council said: “Due to the ongoing uncertainty associated with supply chains, the cost of construction materials and rising energy costs, caused by a number of factors including Brexit and Covid, and which is being exacerbated by recent events in Ukraine; the decision by Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet to award the stage 2 build contract for the Carlisle Southern Link Road was deferred.”

After being left in limbo for four months, a crucial council cabinet meeting has decided not sign off the full design and build contract with Morgan Sindall Construction.

The council cabinet also agreed, with approval and ongoing funding from Homes England, to reprogramme and re-procure the project.

A timetable has not been released for a fresh tender exercise.

Morgan Sindall’s team included Capita as designer who had undertaken the preliminary design and development of the scheme for Cumbria County prior to joining the contractor team.

Local contractor Story Construction is also part of the Morgan Sindall team.

The CSLR project would connect Junction 42 of the M6 with the A595 and would connect with Carlisle Northern Development route from the A595 to Junction 44 of the M6.

Works include four new roundabouts, five cycle bridges and four road bridges and a cycle path along the northern side along its full length.

Two of the bridges will cross Network Rail’s West Coast Main Line and Cumbrian Coast Line.

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