A14 diversion works ‘damaging roads and homes’ - council committee hears

Shire Hall Cambridge.

Shire Hall Cambridge. - Credit: Archant

Roads and homes are being damaged by heavy goods vehicles diverted off the A14 but not following the official route, a county council highways committee heard.

Councillors told the county council's highways and infrastructure committee on July 9 that HGVs are damaging roads, bridges and homes - and in one case the vibrations were causing a housing block to "sink".

Councillor for Alconbury and Kimbolton, Conservative Ian Gardener, called for Highways England to pay to fix damage caused to roads and nearby buildings, saying the diversions were being badly managed.

He said roads were being "virtually destroyed" by HGVs not following the correct diversion routes.

In a statement, Highways England said it has taken measures together with Cambridgeshire County Council to make sure diversions are followed, but it did not commit to providing extra funds.

Cllr Gardener said that in Ellington "they are now starting to cause damage to houses through the vibrations in the roads and I know various householders are looking to take somebody to court if they can regarding the damage.

"It's also causing damage to drains underneath the roads and you can now start to see cracks in driveways and in the properties I have been round."

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He said Highways England needs to be made aware "of the damage, it is causing". But added: "I have tried contacting Highways England and I do not get a response at all really."

He said: "At the end of the day Cambridgeshire is going to have quite a considerable cost to repair all these roads."

Councillor for Arbury, Labour's Jocelynne Scutt, echoed his comments and said: "the same thing is happening in the city too".

She said residents in Cambridge have complained of their walls "cracking".

"I know there's one building that has actually begun to sink," she said, "it's city flats and you can see it's sinking."

A spokesman for Highways England said: "We work closely with Cambridgeshire County Council and our other partners locally to ensure that our work can be completed successfully.

"This includes agreeing on diversion routes with them when roads are closed and working together to publicise these diversion routes and ensure they are followed. Between us we have taken numerous measures to try to ensure official diversion routes are followed and will continue to do so until the scheme construction is complete.

"Our £1.5 billion project to upgrade 21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon is on target to be completed by the end of 2020. Once open, it will shave up to 20 minutes of journeys for each of the 85,000 drivers using the route daily."

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: "We have been working closely with Highways England to support them on the A14 major upgrade project, to improve and maintain Cambridgeshire roads for the long term.

"This has included assisting them with sharing information with members of the public about the official diversion routes.

"We will continue to work with partners to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum while the work is carried out."