THE new and improved A14 could be built on one of five routes... but the preferred option for the much-needed improvements will not be known until summer 2007. The consultation process that will help determine the route for the A14 Huntingdon southern byp

Have a say on new route for the A14

THE new and improved A14 could be built on one of five routes... but the preferred option for the much-needed improvements will not be known until summer 2007.

The consultation process that will help determine the route for the A14 Huntingdon southern bypass begins with the two public exhibitions this week.

The process starts at Hilton and Offord Cluny on Friday and Saturday - the two communities to have raised significant objections to the Highways Agency's original proposals for the A14. This latest consultation, 18 months after the original exercise, is a result of an Appeal Court challenge by Offord residents.

There are three routes in the consultation - and three variations of one route.

Have a say on new route for the A14

They are coded blue (the subject of the first exercise), brown (through the old Buckden tip) and orange (closer to Godmanchester than the Highways Agency originally proposed).

From the east of Ellington, the Orange Route runs on the west side of the A1, to a new junction at Brampton. It then continues east, passing just south of the Buckden landfill site, crosses the River Great Ouse and the East Coast main railway line and continues south of Offord Hill.

It then goes across the A1198 south of Wood Green Animal Shelters. Lastly, it goes north of Hilton and Conington and joins the A14 at a new junction at Fen Drayton.

The Brown Route passes about 100 metres east of Brampton Wood to a new junction at Brampton. It then follows the old railway line across the middle of Buckden landfill site - the cost of stabilising the land for a major highway would be a major factor against this route. It then crosses the River Great Ouse and the East Coast main line railway, and continues south of Godmanchester. It goes across the A1198 to the north of the Wood Green Animal Shelters. Lastly, it goes through open farmland to join the A14 at a new junction to the east of Fen Drayton.

From the east of Ellington, the Blue Route passes about 100 metres east of Brampton Wood to a new junction at Brampton. It then goes north of Buckden landfill site and then across the River Great Ouse and the East Coast main line, and continues south of Godmanchester. It goes across the A1198 to the north of Wood Green Animal Shelters. Lastly, it goes through open farmland and joins the A14 east of Fen Drayton.

There are two possible variations for the Blue Route. It would be possible to have one, both or neither, the Highways Agency says.

In the first variation, the new road would go south, not north, of the Buckden landfill site and in the second variation the new road would join the A14 west (not east) of Fenstanton.

If chosen, this would leave the village as the only settlement in the county to have the impact of the road - which already divides it - intensified by the widening, rather than relieved by the new bypass.

The public has until March 9 next year to comment on the routes before the agency publishes a preferred route later in the year.

Highways Agency project leader Mike Hall said: "As promised, we are starting our consultation before Christmas. We are committed to delivering this scheme as quickly as possible and catching up on lost time.

"We look forward to meeting local people at the exhibitions in December and January and hearing their views. We are also working with local organisations to ensure that growth in the Cambridgeshire region is not compromised."

The proposals for the A14 between Fen Drayton and Fen Ditton, near Cambridge, are unaffected and do not form part of this consultation.

INFORMATION: A leaflet detailing the proposals is being posted to households between Ellington and Fen Drayton and will also be available at the consultation exhibitions, public libraries, hotels, petrol stations and service areas.

The leaflet includes a postage-paid questionnaire to enable people to comment. The feedback form is also available at the Highways Agency website on www.highways.gov.uk.