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Bridge job cut back

Glasgow splits up pedestrian crossing job after tenders come in millions over original budget

A BUDGET-busting bridge project in Glasgow is being retendered at a drastically reduced cost.

The original pedestrian bridge, known as Neptune's Way, was designed by star architect Sir Richard Rogers to link the Tradeston and Broomielaw areas of the city across the River Clyde.

But the two firms that ended up bidding for the deal, Balfour Beatty and Sir Robert McAlpine, returned tenders as much as £20 million over the original £40 million budget.

Now Glasgow City Council has split the deal into two packages, with the bridge itself offered as a traditional design and build contract with a price tag of £6 million.

The second package is a £16 million deal to strengthen and repair the quay walls as well as creating a landscaped public area.

Balfour Beatty returned its bid last week for the quay work.

There were also pitches from the Scottish operation of Northern Irish firm Graham Construction, RJ McLeod and Land Engineering.

One source said: 'Work was supposed to start at the end of October but, with all the delays, that was never going to happen.'

Balfour Beatty is also competing for the bridge contract and is up against Edmund Nuttall but a source at Sir Robert McAlpine said: 'We're not going for it. We spent so much money tendering for it last time we've decided to give it a miss.'

Nuttall has experience in the area. It finished the £20 million Clyde Arc road bridge at nearby Pacific Quays in July. The bridge is designed to ease traffic congestion around the new BBC Scotland building and is known locally as the 'squinty bridge' because it crosses the river diagonally.

The council has not set any specific construction dates for the footbridge but work will not start until January at the earliest, with the quay walls being completed around November next year. The bridge is due to open in summer 2008.