Details emerge on Cambridge megaprojects

Conceptual designs for Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) targeted for March as the East West Railway Company (EWR) seeks advisory services.

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Mayor James Palmer has confirmed that a staged procurement process starting in early October will identify (by December 2020) three top scoring tenderers who will be awarded contracts to develop the CAM conceptual designs in full. Three sequenced milestones will follow, ensuring the best possible designs are delivered by the target date of March 2021.

The authority will also retain access to those successful suppliers for further engagement regarding their proposed conceptual designs for the CAM. 

Following the establishment of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) delivery body, One CAM Limited, the combined authority board will on 30 September be recommended to appoint the University of Cambridge’s tunnelling expert Lord Robert Mair CBE, as its first board chair.

Palmer said: “We’re putting bold, fresh thinking at the heart of CAM’s delivery. This conceptual design challenge is indicative of that approach.”

Meanwhile, expressions of interest are due to EWR by 1 October for advisory services to support that scheme. The £85m technical partner OJEU open tender is one of four “partnerships” required to progress the preliminary design and environmental assessment of the scheme and to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) application.

Contracts for programme partner (£35m), land and property partner (£15m), and a commercial partner (£30m), are to be procured under framework agreements. The latter includes project finance support.

The four-year contract is expected to be awarded in February 2021. It is anticipated that a DCO application will be submitted in mid-2022 and that Secretary of State approval will be granted by late 2023, leading to a start of construction works in mid-2024. It is further anticipated that the complete scheme to Cambridge will be ‘infrastructure ready’ by late 2027 and that a full operational railway between Oxford and Cambridge will be in service well before the end of the decade.