A14 Junctions Plan Flawed
JUNCTIONS planned for the upgraded A14 near Buckden and Brampton are sub-standard and could lead to serious accidents, campaigners believe. Instead of the free-flow intersections originally proposed, the Highways Agency is now suggesting low-speed tight
JUNCTIONS planned for the upgraded A14 near Buckden and Brampton are sub-standard and could lead to serious accidents, campaigners believe.
Instead of the "free-flow" intersections originally proposed, the Highways Agency is now suggesting low-speed tight-radius clover-leaf junctions - such as those it is planning to remove from the Girton interchange near Cambridge.
Campaigners say that could result in lorries overturning and other drivers losing control.
Campaigners in Buckden are urging the Highways Agency, when it publishes "draft orders" for the scheme shortly, to retain the A14 viaduct in Huntingdon, rather than demolish it.
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They also want the western end of the route moved further away from Brampton - to the edge of Brampton Wood - to enable free-flow junctions to be restored and provide space for a future re-routing of the A1 away from Brampton and Buckden.
Terry Hayward, chairman of Buckden Parish Council's A14 working group, complains that many of the objectors' arguments were ignored in a summary of the scheme for senior officials and Ministers late last year.
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"At present the developers don't really understand the implications of losing the viaduct, which is in fact part of the Huntingdon and Godmanchester bypass," he told The Hunts Post. "This has not been argued on a level playing field."
The council is backed by eminent civil engineer Ieuan Evans, who lives in the village, is a former Department of Transport regional director, and oversaw construction of the present road in the 1970s.
"The parish council is keen for the scheme to succeed, but we want the fundamental flaws to be addressed," he said.
"Many people seem to have been seduced by the idea of a prettier, quieter Huntingdon, without considering all the arguments," Mr Hayward said.
Buckden argues that keeping the viaduct over the railway line in Huntingdon will provide greater capacity and an alternative route if either road is blocked by an accident. It would also prevent gridlock the campaigners predict for Brampton Road and Hinchingbrooke if the viaduct comes down.
"We want the road built, but we want it built right," Mr Hayward added. "If we have satisfactory solutions to the problems we raise, that will be marvellous. If not, the inspector [at the public inquiry, probably later this year] will be asking the same questions as we are, so the scheme will be delayed." Mr Evans believes that could add two years to completion of the road, currently slated for 2015.
Mr Hayward says the latest design for the junctions between the new road are "at best foolhardy", replacing the free-flow intersections in the original plans.