Wednesday, April 9, 2014
This will be the view greeting motorists travelling into Huntingdon from Brampton once the A14 viaduct is pulled down.
The Highways Agency revealed the new – and peculiar to those who have only known life with the viaduct – entrance to the town on Monday as it unveiled its latest design for the 21-mile A14 upgrade between Ellington and Girton, and opened its latest consultation.
As well as removing the viaduct, the key message was the new A14 will almost halve journey times for commuters. Average times between Ellington and Girton during the morning peak in 2035 – 15 years after the work is due to be completed – will be cut from 38 minutes to 21.
Peak-time afternoon journeys will fall from 42 to 22 minutes.
An improved junction between the A1 and A14 at Brampton is the main difference in this version of the Highways Agency plan which, along with other changes, has seen the overall cost fall – it is now estimated to be £1.32billion against a budget of £1.5bn.
A new layout for the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury is also planned. This would see the A14 follow the current A1 route with a new extension of the A1(M) replacing that stretch of road. The purpose of this, HA officers say, is to move the busier A1 further from Brampton homes and cause less impact on motorists during the construction work.
Other changes following last year’s consultation include improved junctions at Swavesey, Bar Hill and Girton. The new local access road, which will run parallel with the A14 between Fen Drayton and Swavesey, will be dual carriageway.
The A14 will be further improved between Bar Hill and Girton with the current three lanes becoming four.
When tolling of the A14 was dropped, the HA investigated keeping the Huntingdon viaduct and the existing route as a north-east road and introducing a two-lane dual carriageway southern bypass.
This would have delivered a higher benefit-to-cost ratio than the proposed route, though it would have cost more at £1.6bn. However, it was considered to be inadequate because it would have needed improvement 10 years after the opening and was deemed unacceptable by both district and county councils, which are against keeping the viaduct.
The southern bypass, the HA said, would also improve air quality standards along the Huntingdon, Brampton and Hemingford to Fenstanton lengths of the A14.
Areas around the new route will have increased pollution levels but these would not breach standards.
The A1(M) between Brampton and Alconbury could carry more than 20 per cent more traffic when the scheme is completed, but the A14 between Brampton Hut and Spittals Interchange, Alconbury and Spittals, Spittals and Swavesey is expected to see at least 20 per cent fewer vehicles.
Traffic on the A1198 between Godmanchester and Caxton Gibbet is expected to fall by up to 20 per cent, as are levels between Caxton Gibbet and Cambridge, although the A428 west of Caxton will see an increase by 2035. Spittals Way in Huntingdon will also see an increase.
A14 project manager Ian Parker told The Hunts Post: “People will be able to comment at a later stage but this is the time when there will be a chance for us to take on views and build them into the scheme before submitting the plan to the Planning Inspectorate in the autumn.
“It is still a work in progress.”
INFORMATION: To take part in the consultation, visit www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a14-cambridge-to-