Thursday, January 10, 2008
Well, we've been pipped to the post with this one. After scanning the Highways Agency website, as well as the Public Inquiry website, we became aware of some Freedom of Information releases which talked about an increase in costs. But there are so many things to write about at the moment, that we put it on hold for another night.
So the MEN have the scoop for a change. Today's big news is the massively escalating costs of the bypass.
Quoting the £13,782,505.24* figure is one thing, but there are other ways of looking at numbers. The Freedom of Info releases are here, here and here (all open PDFs), but for those who would like us to extrapolate, here is the info they provided:
The figures show the differing amounts paid to those involved on working on the bypass, for specific time periods. I have added the time periods in months. When you produce an average of those periods to produce monthly figures, this is what you get:
August 2004-January 2006 - £408,861.43 per month
February 2006-February 2007 - £309,710.17 per month
February 2007-June 2007 - £489,048.06 per month
June 2007-October 2007 - £658,956.50 per month
So the latter period has been the most costly. The Bypass is now costing over £150,000 each week. Roy Oldham's annual salary as Council leader was reported to be more than £40,000 just over 2 years ago - so the bypass is costing us a Roy Oldham every other day. Surely that's food for thought even for the most craven pro-bypass supporter (unless you happen to be related and invited to all the junkets, eh Mike Flynn)?
And if you read the comments on the MEN website, it's all our fault. Well boo hoo - that's fine with me. Because driving up the costs - by fair means or foul - kills road schemes. It is a legitimate tactic as far as we're concerned. And it is working.
In part two of this feature, we will reveal how this Freedom of Information release came about.
**Update, 14/01/2008. We've now rigged up a little counter to show the estimated costs so far. This little widget is based on the £13,782,505.24 figure being relevant from 31st October 2007 and that costs are accruing at the rate we calculated. It can be adjusted accordingly, but in the meantime will count down here for the forseeable future reminding people what a total rip-off this white elephant is!**
*if you were writing a cheque, you'd have to scribble "thirteen million, seven hundred and eighty-two thousand, five hundred and five pounds, twenty-four pence" onto the two lines they provide - see the above image for an idea