The runway jigsaw: How much for a small tunnel?
|The question of the airport tunnel crops up now and then. The question to be asked is how much should a small tunnel cost?
It will be recalled that the tunnel was put out to tender and that the previous government selected the one costing £30 million. The tender was for the tunnel and the road linking it to the new air terminal.
What we have ended up with looks more like a bombed site than anything else. Not only that, but £30 million later, the project has ended in a row between the then government and the Spanish builder.
MORE MONEY IN THE AIR
It is not clear now if there is a legal case, and if there is such a case, who will win and who will lose.
With more money in the air, presumably the right thing is to wait and see what develops.
It could well be that a legal case could favour the company. If that is the case, it would mean more money for the bomb site at taxpayers expense.
On the other hand, if the government won the case, it could conceivably mean that there would be money coming in, which might make the cost of the project less expensive.
If we wait and see, how long would that take? And if we go ahead without knowing what could be the additional cost, it might not be the most prudent thing to do.
If the row erupted because of alleged contamination of the soil on which that part of the runway was built, whose responsibility was it to have made clear that such contamination existed?
Be that as it may, the cost to finish off the project has been bandied about as being an extra £55 million. If to that you add the original cost of £30 million, we are facing a project that could cost as much as the new air terminal or thereabouts.
So, what is reasonable and what is not?
How can something as important as that to the new terminal jigsaw, be got so badly?
There would appear to be three options:
1) Finish off the project at the apparent exhorbitant cost that would ensue.
2) Drop the project and extend the road over the runway, forgetting the tunnel.
The idea of re-tendering would have to take into account if any additional millions could arise from any legal case.
Dropping the notion of a tunnel, or under-pass or some other underground project, what we are left with is having a road over the runway, that is, moving the road that now runs across the middle of the runway to the eastern end of the runway.
Is there an answer that will not cost more millions and make the whole project inadvisable?