August 4, 2008

Squiggly Bridge May Be Finished One Year Late Dispute Over Design Delays Clyde Crossing

A BRIDGE being built on the Clyde could open a year late amid wranglings between contractors.

The Tradeston Bridge, in Glasgow city centre, was due to be in place by this October but has been delayed due to a dispute over the design specifi cations.

It's understood subcontractor Steel Engineering of Renfrew has refused on at least two occasions to begin fabrication work, with the fi rm having accused the main developer, Edmund Nuttall, of providing designs which were lacking in specific details.

Any delay beyond the original timescale will see the city council lose up to pounds-5million of European funding towards its construction. As of yesterday, only a fraction of the steel for the project had been ordered, with the remaining 60-per cent still between four and six weeks away from being requested.

A best-case scenario for delivery of the scheme, dubbed the Squiggly Bridge because of its sinuous double curved shape, is now early next year.

However, it's understood one potential scenario could see the bridge delivered as late as autumn 2009 .

Preparatory work on the southern bank quay walls, which consumes much of the pounds-33m cost of the scheme, has been running six months behind schedule after they collapsed last September. Edmund Nuttall is currently repairing the Clyde Arc, or "Squinty Bridge", less than a mile up-river.

The pounds-25m bridge was shut less than 18 months after being completed by Nuttall after a support collapsed on to the carriageway.

When contacted about the latest hold-up Nuttall said it was all down to the quay walls issue.

But minutes of meetings with the council show the firm was invited to begin work on the north bank in February and again in March.

Nuttall moved on site yesterday but is understood to have intimated it wants an extension of several months.

Steel Engineering has another project in the pipeline and may have to take this job if the Nuttall design issue is not resolved by the end of April, kicking the completion date into late 2009. Steel Engineering was unavailable for comment.

A Nuttall spokesman said: "There are talks with the subcontractor as part of the pre-construction activities. We have started on site and steel will be delivered by next month."

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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