A metro for Cambridge has already been pushed back a year – before building work has even begun.
Plans to create an underground system of tunnels for the Cambridge region were originally going to be completed in 2025 but it's now estimated for completion in 2026/27.
In a report to the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) consultants Steer Davies Gleaves said: "The overall duration is a year longer that those set out in our draft report / presentations."
While this £1.5 to £1.7 billion investment might be called a metro, it is essentially a tram on wheels and has no rail component.
The completion of the Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) by its revised date was also tied to other GCP projects staying on time, the executive board meeting was told.
There were some questions about the affordability of the scheme and some members of the executive board, including Cllr Lewis Herbert, said the CAM scheme must not be the only transport solution to be considered.
However, overwhelmingly the GCP executive board voted to recommend the proposal to now develop a strategic outline business case for the metro.
Chris Tunstall, transport director for the GCP said: “There is nothing like CAM. It’s tried and tested and would provide the solution to Cambridge’s requirements to Rapid Mass Transit. “
Cllr Francis Burkitt was also supportive. "It’s clear everyone seems enthusiastic about the metro", he said.
The decision to continue moving forward comes a week after the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority approved £600,000 of funding to develop a strategic outline business case and an options appraisal report for the CAM proposal.
What is the metro?
The recommended network would use autonomous “optically guided” trams on rubber wheels which would connect the city with towns like Haverhill, Cambourne and, potentially, Royston.
The rubber-wheeled vehicles would sit lower to the ground, meaning the circumference of the tunnels needed would be significantly smaller and cost less.
It will need dedicated routes (like busways if you like), so could use existing busways like the one to St Ives.
The vehicles would use cameras to detect obstacles on the route and guide the vehicle.
It will probably involve two tunnels – one from the west into the city centre, and another from the north into the the city centre.
The precise route has not yet been determined, nor have the locations for stations.
A strategic Outline Business Case prepared and consultation on concept and options.
Prepare outline business case.
Public consultation on options/preferred option.
Ensure route identified in relevant planning documents.
Submit outline business case , get provisional funding and have a detailed plan.
Contract procurement and phase one shuttles operating on non-tunneled section of the network.
Also have the first 'bespoke CAM vehicle running'.
Start tunnel construction.
Construction, testing and full network opening.
Estimate of three years to complete the 'central area tunnel'.
Metro finished and completely up and running.
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