The Highways Agency has launched a new 10-week consultation on plans for a £1.5bn upgrade to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
The new consultation follows the government’s decision late last year [CM 5 December] to scrap controversial plans for a toll on the A14, after they were roundly rejected by commercial vehicle operators in the region and the industry’s two main trade associations, as well as a number of MPs.
Announcing the new consultation, DfT roads minister Robert Goodwill said it was "an important next step" in the development process, adding: "I encourage anyone who uses the A14 to get online and have their say."
Almost 85,000 vehicles use the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon daily, according to the Highways Agency - around a quarter of them HGVs.
The latest consultation outlines plans that include widening a 3.5 mile section of the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury from two to three lanes each way, building a new 12.5 mile bypass to the south of Huntingdon, and widening the carriageway on a 5.5 mile section of the A14 between Swavesey and Girton.
Welcoming the new consultation, Freight Transport Association (FTA) head of road network policy Malcolm Bingham said the latest proposals did "potentially" contain enough to address the longstanding congestion issues that have plagued A14 users. But he added that it was important to assess whether the proposals would do anything to enhance journey reliability.
"If it can be shown that the new route can provide at least as good, if not better, journey reliability around that stretch, then there isn’t a problem," Bingham said.
The consultation will run to 15 June. The Highways Agency should announce the preferred route for the upgrade this summer before submitting its planning application in autumn. Subject to the application being successful, work is due to start in late 2016 with completion in 2019 or 2020.
CM recently looked at the issue of road tolls and if they would be a fairer system for haulage than road tax and fuel duty.
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