Bus lane work begins

LANE closures on Huntingdon ring road yesterday (Tuesday) and today marked the start of work to create a £1.45million contra-flow bus lane. The lane will run from George Street to the bus station and should be completed in June, allowing buses to turn rig

LANE closures on Huntingdon ring road yesterday (Tuesday) and today marked the start of work to create a £1.45million contra-flow bus lane.

The lane will run from George Street to the bus station and should be completed in June, allowing buses to turn right from Brampton Road and George Street.

The lane could save some buses nearly 10 minutes on their journeys, reducing time spent on the ring road by 76 per cent, according to Cambridgeshire County Council.

It would also be used by the guided bus when the project is completed.

However, the work has already sparked anger among some parts of the community as it includes felling trees, including an ancient African bean tree, along the route. Residents of Walden Grove said the trees screened them from the noise and pollution.

Audrey Blake, of Walden Grove and a member of Huntingdon Civic Society, said: "It's a disaster. I think it's criminal. They are taking all the green things away from Huntingdon. Is the bus lane worth this amount of destruction?"

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Her neighbour, Tracy Burke said: "I'm not against development but they need to consult the wishes of local people. The outlook from our homes will be completely changed.

"These decisions are made in Cambridge without enough consultation of people who live here in Huntingdon."

Mike Eatock, senior project manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, which is responsible for the work, said a tree surgeon's report had found the majority of the trees were in poor condition.

He added that the whole area would be landscaped, in phase II of the scheme, which included planting more trees. However, the developers, Clegg, had not yet applied for planning permission for phase II so details were unknown.

The advance work, which will take until December, includes felling five trees in the area as well as diverting cables. The main construction works are set to start in January.

The footpath on the north side of Walden Road will be closed throughout the works, but all other access for pedestrians and cyclists will remain open, the council promises.

Mr Eatock added: "It is a major scheme on a busy road and will inevitably cause delays.

"We are asking motorists to leave plenty of time for their journeys and we apologise for any inconvenience."

INFORMATION: Buses which will use the road include the 571, 466, 565 and the 566, to St Neots, Little Paxton, Brampton and Hartford.

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