North Somerset Council has tied contractor Alun Griffiths down to a price of £56.5m to deliver the delayed Banwell Bypass near Weston-Super-Mare.
First considered more than a century ago, planning permission was granted for the 3.3km bypass off the A38 in March 2023 but the project was one of a host of schemes supported by Homes England to be hit by price rises, as Highways revealed earlier this year.
In June 2023, the original 2019 estimate of £66m, which includes fees and land purchases, was revealed to have leapt to £89.2m due to surging materials and labour caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homes England had agreed to fund the majority of the scheme as the bypass will prevent traffic congestion from the nearby development of 2,800 homes. The state housing body subsequently agreed to raise its contribution to £77.3m, with North Somerset Council contributing the remaining £11.9m.
Under the terms of the ‘pain gain agreement’ between the council and Tarmac subsidiary Alun Griffiths, the contractor will take a percentage of any savings delivered but must also bear the weight of a percentage of costs if the scheme runs over budget.
Land assembly is due to be completed this winter and construction is scheduled to start next spring.
Consultants Arup and TACP Landscape Design are also working on the plans for the bypass, which will run from the A371 Summer Lane to the A368 Towerhead Road and also include a bridge and 10 culverts.
The work was expected to take around two years to build, but council leader Mike Bell has been reported as saying he hopes that the bypass will be completed by May 2026.