There are two options to improve the stretch of the A14 between Ellington and Fen Ditton and the public consultation process on both proposals has now kicked off. The closing date for comments is 30th June, 2005.
Both plans will involve the construction of a new A14 starting at Ellington – to the east of Huntingdon – heading west of the current A14 and rejoining it at the existing Fen Drayton interchange. You can see a full-size map of the routes by using the link at the top right of this page.
Option One (estimated at £490 million)
Based on the CHUMMS strategy (the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study) the A14 will be a three-lane road in each direction between Fen Drayton and Fen Ditton with no junctions for a ten-mile stretch. Existing junctions at Histon, Milton and Fen Ditton would be retained. The route between Ellington and the A1 will be two lanes in each direction. The road will be used mainly by traffic travelling through the county – rather than local traffic.
|"Either proposal would improve journey time reliability, especially for those travelling during peak hours."|
|Mike Povey, Highways Agency project leader|
The current A14 will be downgraded and used by local traffic between Cambridge and Huntingdon. It will run past Huntingdon, and be used as it is at present, although the Huntingdon viaduct will need to be demolished to accommodate a new junction with Brampton Road. As this option does not allow for local junctions, new roads will need to be created alongside the upgraded stretch of the A14.
Option Two (estimated at £470 million)
The existing A14 past Huntingdon will remain as a dual carriageway trunk road and a new two-lane (each way) route from Ellington to Fen Drayton will be built. Lorries will still be allowed to use the old A14 under this proposal. The proposals for the A14 east of Fen Drayton are the same as in the first scheme.
Paul Stubbings, Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Road Safety Officer, said the A14 was sorely in need of improvement and welcomed the consultation process, saying: “These plans will ultimately lead to the widening of the road and allow for a link to be made which will actually be right for the flow of traffic - and certainly the road is not wide enough for the amount of traffic that’s using it.”
He added, however, that the A14 itself is not a dangerous road: “If we look at some of the crashes that occur on this road, it isn’t always about the road layout; in fact it’s the opposite – driver error. Very often these crashes are caused by drivers who aren’t keeping their distance and that’s one of the biggest problems – people are travelling too close or at an inappropriate speed.”
Mike Povey is the Highways Agency project leader. He says that residents of Huntingdon will have a key part to play in the consultation process. “The people of Huntingdon will have an important voice in this because it is very much a local issue, but we’re inviting everybody to tell us what they think and their views will be taken into consideration. There will be a difference in effect on the new road south of Huntingdon. Clearly if we halve the traffic it will reduce the impact of that road, but that will be a relatively small effect. The greatest effect will obviously be placing a new road in the countryside.
|A crash on the A14|
“One feature of this scheme is that we’re removing all the local junctions from the A14. Between Huntingdon and Cambridge there are a lot of local junctions and that disrupts the flow of traffic. Those will only be connected to the local road in this scheme. The A14 will have a clear run through, so it will make a vast difference. The question is, which is the better option for Huntingdon – to keep the viaduct in place and have this efficient link around the west side but with more traffic, or to restrict the existing A14, provide the connection at Brampton Road, but possibly introduce more local traffic problems.”
The Highways Agency website (use the link at the top right of this page) has full details of the proposals and a leaflet is available by calling 08457 504030 or by sending an email to: A14EllingtonFenDitton@highways.gsi.gov.uk
What happens next?
Once the consultation period is complete (30th June, 2005), the Highways Agency will need to analyse the public’s responses and decide on the preferred option. The Secretary of State for Transport will then be presented with the results at the end of the year. Throughout 2006 and 2007 the Highways Agency will assess the impact of the new scheme and deal with objections and a public inquiry, should one be necessary.
Work on the new scheme is not due to begin until 2008 at the earliest and the estimated finish date is anywhere between 2011 and 2015.
You can see a full-size map of the proposed routes by using the link at the top right of this page.