Bids invited from contractors to repair road closed since 2021
Rory Sheehan, local democracy reporter
Wrexham Council is going out to tender for contractors to tackle the repair of the B5605 Newbridge Road.
The road has been closed since January 2021 when heavy downpours during Storm Christoph during the storm caused part of it to collapse down an embankment.
It serves as a busy route for local people and also acts as a diversion from the A483 bypass.
This wait has led to a lengthy period of frustration for motorists, and residents living nearby, who have been forced to take lengthy diversions to get to work or take their children to school.
In May, the Welsh Government announced it would be providing £2.8m in funding to Wrexham Council to cover the cost of the repairs, and geo-technical work began in the autumn.
Speaking at a media briefing earlier this month, deputy leader, Cllr David A Bithell anticipated that the road could still be out of use for another year.
Now progress is to be made as the council has issued a statement confirming it is inviting contractors to bid to undertake the work on eTender Wales.
The authority is looking for a company with a proven track record in this field of work, deciding to advertise via the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent (NMWTRA) Contractor Framework.
A spokesman for Wrexham Council says this should ensure compliance and an agreed outcome within its Financial Regulation Documentation .
Contractors will have six weeks to submit their bids with an opportunity after three weeks to answer any points of detail they raise.
After six weeks the tenders will be evaluated in line with the council’s procurement processes and any issues resolved before the preferred bidder is chosen.
A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “The complexity of this scheme requires bespoke design and build detail and associated planning and procurement and we’re pleased that this support is being provided by Consulting Engineers (Atkins) with contractual risk very much in their focus.
“Progress has now been made to a stage where the invitation to tender, via the aforementioned Framework, for the next major stage can proceed with confidence, with diligence to date paying dividends and maximising the potential for a smooth transition to the construction phase that follows.”
“There is an added advantage to the apporaching spring and summer seasons to deal with the most complex phases of the repair will also hopefully deliver its own benefits with the high quality outcome much deserved by the residents of Wrexham.
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for the Environment, added: “I am pleased that work on this important project has reached this point.
“The closure of the road has had a significant impact on local communities and emergency services who are having to drive miles out of their way, often on a daily basis.”
Timeline of events so far:
January 2021 – Storm Christoph hit and caused the critical failure of the embankment which forced closure of the road.
March 2021 – After the results of the initial ground investigations, a further report to arrange for an assessment of ground condition at the site was commissioned.
April 2021 – More detailed surveys were undertaken which were duly processed and formed part of the initial repair options report. More targeted ground Investigation followed, data has been and continues to be collected on an ongoing basis to assess ground water conditions and monitor any deep ground movement.
May 2021 – £175,000 was awarded by Welsh Government to reimburse Wrexham Council costs to date, and to fund further preparatory studies. This funding was also used to develop an options report and estimated costings for the stabilisation and repair of the slope.
February 2022 – Wrexham Council was invited by Welsh Government to submit a bid for grant funding which was submitted in March, supported by the information collated by that time, and were pleased to be awarded the funding applied for in full in April 2022.
Work progressed in producing the specification documents and approach towards appointing Consulting Engineers. This was advertised, via an identified Framework, in October 2022 and the successful Consulting Engineers appointed in November 2022.
November/December 2022 – In the lead up to Christmas and the New Year the consultant’s team had been developed and has been preparing the necessary documents for submitting invitations for the Design and Build Contractor to bid for the scheme that will involve the repair to the landslip area and reinstatement of the carriageway.
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The road was closed in 2021 and nothing was done really. Then, in late 2022 it was announced that work would be commenced in roughly March. That now translates to seeking tenders. Meanwhile a glacier somewhere has moved 1mm, and is making all this look local authority- ish…..perhaps a new reference instead of ” glacial” it will be another 18 months before anything starts.