Worcester bridge going ahead despite cost hike


Worcester bridge going ahead despite cost hike

Kepax Bridge will provide an additional crossing of the River Severn in Worcester for pedestrians and cyclists, between Gheluvelt Park to the east and the Kepax site in St John’s to the west.


Despite costs estimates spiralling from £8.9m three years ago to £16m today, Worcestershire County Council cabinet last week (22nd September) agreed to authorise the award of the main construction contract. It asked the council to amend the capital budget to enable construction works to start later this year.


The initial £8.9m total project cost estimate comprised £6.7m for construction (including plus preparation and design), £0.6m for the access path across the Kepax site and £1.5m for wider improvements.


Councillor Marc Bayliss, cabinet member for economy, infrastructure and skills said: “We have heard some debate about the cost of the scheme and it’s important to note that the previously published cost did not include inflation, nor did it include additional works such as improvements to Horsford Road or the ramp down to the Severn Way. Since 2019, there has been significant inflation in the construction industry due to a number of factors, including major increases in fuel, energy, aggregate and steel costs. The sources of funding to meet the full costs are identified and will not have any impact on highway maintenance budgets.”


Previously approved preparatory works have already taken place including environmental surveys and clearance of vegetation on the bridge alignment.


Kepax Bridge, designed by consulting engineer Jacobs, will be 4.3-metres wide and have a total span of 106 metres, with a main span of 58 metres and four approach spans of 12 metres each. There will be a 37-metre ramp on the eastern side of the river to link to the footpaths in Gheluvelt Park.


Even in 2019 the £8.9m cost was described in the strategic outline business case as offering only"medium value for money, with a BCR of 1.7"


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