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Extra £300,000 has to be found for Shoreham footbridge
A council will have to find yet more money for a footbridge which has more than doubled in cost.
West Sussex County Council has revealed it will have to find an extra £300,000 from its highways and transport budget to cover the costs of running a courtesy bus service for residents cut off from Shoreham town centre since the old footbridge was closed.
The extra money will push the cost of the bridge past £10million – twice the original estimate from December 2010.
The authority has been accused of failing to budget properly for the project.
A free bus service has been running since the 100-year-old footbridge was closed because of safety concerns.
Council officials say the service, which has been operating since August, carries 1,000 people a day and runs every 15 minutes for 18 hours.
A separate evening mobility service, which began in September and offered a door-to-door service for residents with disabilities, was cancelled this month because no-one was using it.
Council papers reveal that the costs for the bus service, run by Compass Travel, were not included in the original estimates for the project.
Independent Adur district councillor for Shoreham Ben Stride said the closure of the old footbridge had hit businesses in Ferry Road and traffic congestion had increased.
He added: “The council was naïve with the costing of the project in the first place.
“In any project of this scale, there should be a contingency fund for any costs that run over the projected budget.
“If the bridge was going to be out, you would like to think someone would have thought about how much a bus service costs from the start.”
Joss Loader, the vice-chair of Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association, said she welcomed the new bridge and that feedback from residents on the bus service had been positive.
She added: “Costs are always an issue with a project of this size and we’re aware the bridge is already costing nearly double the original estimates.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “The work on the footbridge is progressing and we hope to open in August.”
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