The UK’s Highways Agency has proposed a new A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme to ease traffic congestion on the 33km (21 miles) stretch. The A14 trunk road between Cambridge and Huntingdon is one of the busiest parts of the strategic road network between the Midlands and East Anglia in England.
The project, which is valued at approximately Â£1.5bn ($2.31bn), is the biggest road improvement project in England. A public consultation conducted by the Highways Agency in 2014 found that 85% of the respondents agreed for the A14 improvement, with more than 50% agreeing with the proposed plan.
Construction of the main works is expected to begin in 2016 and continue for 3.5 years. Additional works to downgrade the A14 trunk road to the south-west of Huntingdon will take 12 to 18 months. The improved stretch is anticipated to open to traffic by 2020.
Apart from reducing traffic jams, the improvement programme also aims to connect communities, improve safety and reduce stress on drivers.
A14 trunk road improvement project background and development
The A14 trunk road between Cambridge and Huntingdon frequently faces traffic congestion and delays, which is predicted to worsen further in future.
Approximately 85,000 vehicles use this stretch every day, which is much more than its actual capacity. Heavy goods vehicles comprise a quarter of these vehicles, a number that is well above the national average for this type of road.
“The project, which is valued at approximately Â£1.5bn ($2.31bn), is the biggest road improvement project in England.”
Following the cancellation of the Ellington to Fen Ditton Scheme in 2010, the UK Department for Transport commissioned a detailed study of options for the A14 development between Ellington and the Cambridge Northern Bypass in late 2011.
The government announced the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme as a tolled option in July 2012 and gave it a fast track delivery status in June 2013. However, a public consultation held between September and October 2013 on the scheme options concluded that the A14 will not be tolled.
The Highways Agency began reviewing the scheme and held a formal pre-application consultation between April and June 2014. A Development Consent Order (DCO) Application was submitted in late 2014, which was accepted for review in January 2015. The decision of the State Secretary is expected by early 2016.
A14 trunk road improvement programme details
The proposed improvement scheme includes the widening of a 3.5 mile stretch between Brampton and Alconbury from the existing two-lane dual carriageway to a three-lane dual carriageway by constructing a new road to the west of the existing A1 and making the A1 a part of the newly proposed bypass.
The newly proposed Huntingdon Southern Bypass will provide a two-lane dual carriageway between Ellington and the A1 at Brampton. The 12.5 mile-long bypass will also provide a three-lane dual carriageway between Brampton and Swavesey. It will include a bridge over the East Coast Mainline railway and a raised viaduct across the River Great Ouse.
Approximately 12 miles of the A14 trunk road between Ellington and Swavesey, as well as between Alconbury and Spittals interchange, will be downgraded.
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Improvements at the Huntingdon Town Centre will include demolition of the A14 rail viaduct and the construction of a new link road from Brampton Road to connect with the A14 to the west.
The existing A14 road will undergo a 5.5 mile widening to provide three new lanes between Swavesey and Bar Hill and four lanes between Bar Hill and Girton. A 1.5mi section of the Cambridge Northern Bypass between Histon and Milton will be widened.
The A14 junctions at Swavesey, Bar Hill and Girton will undergo improvements such as an increase in the road capacity, compatibility with adjacent proposed improvements and connections for non-vehicle users.
A new 5mi-long access road will be built as a dual carriageway between Fen Drayton and Swavesey and as a single carriageway between Swavesey and Girton. It will act as a new route for the local traffic between Cambridge and Huntingdon and provide access to businesses and properties along the corridor.
Financing for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme
The UK Government has granted a provision of Â£1.5bn ($2.31bn) for the project. The funding would come from the central government, local authority and local enterprise partnership.