§ Mr. Welsh
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what contractors are responsible for upgrading the M74; what is the deadline for improvements by contractors upgrading the M74; what are the daily financial penalties incurred by the contractors for work completed after the deadline on the M74; and what changes have been made to the contract concerning completion by the deadline on the M74.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
[holding answer 23 January 1995]: At present, there are two contractors working on the upgrading of the A74 to motorway: Morrison Construction on the length between Ecclefechan and Eaglesfield and Castelli-Girola between Eaglesfield and Kirkpatrick Fleming. Contracts have recently been completed by Barr, Balfour Beatty and Miller Civil Engineering. A contract to divert the Evan Water in advance of the main works has been let to Barr very recently; but work has not yet started.
When bidding for the Scottish Office road contracts, contractors submit their own completion dates with their tenders and these are taken into account when deciding which firm should be awarded the contract. The completion date becomes part of the contract, and the contractor becomes liable for liquidated damages if he is late. There is provision in such contracts to extend the time for completion—for example, due to exceptional weather conditions, which would delay the onset of liquidated damages.
The Ecclefechan to Eaglesfield contract is due to be completed on 3 December 1995, and the liquidated damages payable for late completion are £5,500 per day. The contract is on programme.
The Eaglesfield to Kirkpatrick Fleming contract was due for completion on 26 November 1994, and liquidated damages of £8,200 per day will be due, calculated from that date, except to the extent that the contract conditions relating to an extension of time apply. The appropriate application of these conditions to the circumstances of this contract is currently being considered. The terms of the contract therefore render it unnecessary to make changes concerning the completion date. The road is expected to open to traffic in mid-1995.