THE CONTRACTOR responsible for Evesham’s Abbey Bridge will be fined more than £200,000 for the delays which infuriated local businesses.
Figures given to the Observer by Worcestershire County Council on Wednesday (April 16) show Hochtief have already been fined £178,450 in ‘liquidated damages’.
And the firm could face having to pay the county council around an estimated £250,000 in fines after transport chiefs revealed the clauses in their contract with Hochtief.
The construction firm have paid £1,050 per day for the amount of time over the agreed closure period which was 49 days or seven weeks.
Hochtief have also forked out £1,000 per day over the contracted completion date which was recorded as December 10 last year.
The firm is still currently paying fines as workers remain on site clearing up and restoring the nearby area to its former condition, meaning the bill could rise as high as a quarter of a million pounds
The vital link between Evesham town centre and the south of the town should have opened by late November following the closure in September.
But a further three weeks were asked for by Hochtief, extending the deadline until December 21.
However the contractors then told Worcestershire County Council they would miss the revised deadline and the bridge would
be closed over Christmas, sparking anger from long-suffering traders and residents.
A revised completion date was set and met on March 31 while a partial re-opening took place on March 10 when the ‘Road Closed’ signs which had become a fixture since last September were finally removed.
In response, an irate trader who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This is disgraceful, £200,000? The damage to businesses in the centre of Evesham is three or four times that amount.
“I am very surprised the council put in such a low amount, it seems like they had plenty of faith in Hochtief otherwise surely they would have had much stiffer penalties?
“I know of businesses that have been left almost worthless because of the reduction in trade, I wonder whether we will see any of this money?”
Peter Blake, Worcestershire County Council’s Head of Integrated Transport said: “Although the link re-opened to vehicles and pedestrians on March 31 final sign off of the financial settlement is not expected until later this year.
“It’s not possible to begin a comprehensive review process until this has happened as the final facts of the contract will not be known.”