A14 upgrade to be toll road paid for by motorists

Congestion on A14 There are plans to introduce a toll road to upgrade part of the A14 through Cambridgeshire

The government has announced that our most congested road, the A14, will be tolled.

For the last eight months the government has been consulting on how best to ease congestion: its solution is a new piece of road, which drivers will pay to use.

The trunk road links the country's largest container port in Felixstowe, with the M1 and M6 motorways, from where goods are whisked to the rest of the country.

That's after spending many an hour in gridlock on the 130 mile length of the A14.

The stretch through Cambridgeshire between Cambridge and Huntingdon is particularly busy and that's where the changes will happen.

Tackling delays

South Cambridgeshire MP, Andrew Lansley, welcomed the news: "We all know we need the A14 to be rebuilt.

Start Quote

The business community is somewhat concerned about tolling but I think we believe it's a necessary evil if it is the only way we can get the road upgraded.”

End Quote John Bridge Cambridgshire Chamber of Commerce

In tough times, if it's going to happen it can't just be paid for by the government - people who are using the road will have to dig into their pockets.

"The A14 has stopped Cambridge from growing and it's an impediment day by day to people going about their business," he added.

The plan to upgrade this vital artery through the region will cost up to £1.5 billion.

More then 100,000 vehicles a day travel through Cambridgeshire, a quarter of them heavy good vehicles.

Delays frustrate motorists and cost businesses a fortune.

John Bridge from Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce gave the plan a cautious thumbs up.

He said: "The business community is somewhat concerned about tolling but I think we believe it's a necessary evil if it is the only way we can get the road upgraded."

While the local MP for Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly (Con) had warmer words: "The east of England needs this road to develop the area and without it, particularly as the economy picks up, it's going to be an increasing problem, so it's important we get on with it."

'Innovative' solutions

For many years there's been talk about improving this road but every time, drivers hopes have been dashed.

A14 traffic The last scheme to improve the A14 was dropped because it was too expensive

The last scheme, backed by Labour, was dropped by the coalition because it was too expensive.

A toll road is obviously attractive to the government as it doesn't have to pay for the upgrade.

Private finance will stump up the money and and motorists will pay.

"HGV's can take the toll road and everyone else can use the local access roads," says Andrew Lansley.

"The government hasn't got a limitless supply of money. We need to think of innovative and exciting solutions, which this is."

The eastern region suffers from poor transport links, particularly east to west. No doubt this will go some way to help.

The government says it wants construction to start in six years time.

Isn't that after the next general election?

Deborah McGurran Article written by Deborah McGurran Deborah McGurran Political editor, East of England

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  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The A14 flows much better since the installation of average speed cameras and it would be even better if HGVs were forbidden to overtake at around 1MPH during busy times. Our masters, sorry civil servants & politicians, seem to be reluctant to use the system which we have seen widely used in Germany, Why? It works well why not try it country wide , Ihave only seen it in operation in 2 place here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    More Toll roads, not at the price they charge. I don't consider a charge of £5.50 to travel on the M6 Toll to be value for money. More a rip off. Should cost £2 max and then they might get a proper return. A lorry is only charged £11 which must mean the car is subsidising the lorry (given that HGVs cause more than 10 times wear and the road).

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Unbelievable. The govt has allowed unlimited migration to the Cambrige and East Cambs area to the point where the infrastructure is crumbling, and now it expects the local population to pay extra charges to patch it up. As motorists we already pay excessive amounts of tax. This road should be paid for out of general taxation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    10 yrs ago I lived in Kettering & it was plain to see that the A14 was a joke. As an Island Nation how you can have the largest container port linked to the most important motorway links (M1 & M6) by a dual carriageway littered with roundabouts and junctions beggers belief. Tolling in not the answer. If we can print £350bn & give it to corrupt banks then we can afford to make this a motorway

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Fortunately we don't live in the South East anymore, so no longer use the A14 at all. But it does now sound like the best option for heading north towards Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire will now be the A1 from the M25 and if you want Norfolk use the A12 I guess. Why pay to use the roads when most of us are already caned for their use through our road tax!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    another disatrous move by your government !

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Watch out for width restrictions and weight limits suddenly appearing on access roads so that if you elect to used the A14 at all, through Cambridgeshire you will be taken on a roundabout route. This will not be good for the local villagers or local businesses. This will be an object lesson on how to kill off the peace and quiet of vilages and towns along the route, whilst stopping growth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Just look at the M6 toll, a total disaster! Over a 100,000 vehicles a day were supposed to use it, 34,000 last count. Thats been more than made up by the increase in traffic on the roads it was suppose to help since its introduction. Bet it will be exticing for Mr Lansley, a road for the rich, without all those tax paying plebs in the way. Yeah we'll be paying for a road we can't afford to use!



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