Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Motorists travelling from St Ives to Cambridge along the new route following the proposed A14 upgrade will shave a little more than 20 SECONDS off the average peak-time commute, it has been revealed.
The Highways Agency (HA) couldn’t provide the time savings for those looking to get to the city from Godmanchester and Huntingdon.
Its traffic models, which predict how the £1.5billion system will cope in the years after the toll road opens, show the average morning peak in 2031 between St Ives and Cambridge would be quicker by a measly 24 seconds.
Under the proposed A14 layout, traffic from Huntingdon, Godmanchester and St Ives would use the de-trunked section of the current A14, but would have to negotiate new roundabouts and a new junction at Swavesey linking with the A14.
The HA does not have figures to predict journey times following the immediate opening of the road – expected in 2020 – but it confirmed its predictions for later years put Huntingdonshire commuters back where they started, with longer-than-expected journey times to Cambridge.
An HA spokesman said: “Journey times between St Ives and Cambridge for traffic travelling eastbound at peak times is forecast to be improved by 24 seconds compared to the traffic forecast if the current road layout is kept. The reliability of journey times will be much improved.”
Those using the full 25-mile length of the new A14 will get much greater time savings – those travelling between Ellington to Milton will save 18 minutes on the current peak time journey time of 41 minutes.
St Ives mayor Councillor Nick Dibben said the town would suffer because there would be no direct access at St Ives to the new A14.
“This scheme is different from the last in that people from St Ives have to get on the new road at Swavesey using roundabouts. The probable reason for this is that they couldn’t afford another grade junction.”
Cllr Dibben said additional traffic would be slowing down journey times.
“The other reason for the savings only being 24 seconds could be the Highways Agency is expecting an extra 3,000 vehicles a day along the A1096 Harrison Way.
“The agency says the new local road will be more attractive to drivers and there will be some who would usually go through Earith who would instead go via St Ives to get to the A14.”
Cllr Dibben said Huntingdonshire District Council was proposing a new road from RAF Wyton, where almost 4,000 homes had been included in the Local Plan to 2036, to take vehicles to the east of St Ives.
An HA spokesman said: “For eastbound traffic travelling from St Ives to Cambridge on the new roads at peak time, the journey on the A14 itself will be faster.
“However, the new scheme proposals include two new roundabouts – one where the new local access road joins the de-trunked A14 and the other at the Swavesey junction.
“These will slow traffic down slightly compared to the current layout, where St Ives traffic joins the A14 at the A1096 slip road.
“Overall, however, we anticipate the journey from St Ives to Cambridge, including getting on and off the A14, to be faster and for journey times to be more reliable.”
The HA will confirm its preferred route in the winter. Proposals include a toll road, Huntingdon bypass, de-trunking the A14, taking down the viaduct near Huntingdon station and a host of junctions to link the current route with local roads.