Changes need to be made to the route of the £1.5billion A14 around Huntingdon before it is too late to prevent massive traffic congestion in the town, two county councillors have warned.
County councillors Peter Downes and Tom Sanderson believe the scheme as it stands will only make existing problems on Brampton Road worse where traffic lights are planned near the railway station junction.
They want to see a link road presently planned to run from Hinchingbrooke Park Road to a new junction on the stub of the A14, passing behind Cambridgeshire police headquarters, replaced by a shorter road further north from Parkway behind Hinchingbrooke Hospital through to the A14 near the Spittals junction.
The two councillors would also like to see a private road running through the Hinchingbroke Business Park from Parkway through to the A14 near the Marriott Hotel opened to public use as a temporary measure.
Alterations to traffic in Huntingdon will start after the main upgrade of the A14 is finished in 2020 and will include the demolition of the flyover above the railway station and part of the existing carriageway, with a new roundabout on the stub of the road to connect to the new link from Hinchingbrooke.
But councillors Downes and Sanderson believe that the link is too close to the congested Brampton Road junction and will not ease conditions.
Cllr Downes believes that building the link further north would enable traffic to turn off earlier and bring other benefits.
“If it comes off Parkway to a junction near Spittals it would not only be a shorter road, which would be cheaper, but Stukeley Meadows residents would also benefit because it would be further away from them,” Cllr Downes said.
“It is a long term project and you have to get it right,” he said.
Cllr Sanderson said: “Although it is a Highways England scheme the county council would end up having to pick up the pieces. You have got to get it right first time and you don’t want Highways England going away having done the minimum amount of work.”
Mike Evans, Highways England senior stakeholder manager on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project, said: “We are
“We are obligated to deliver the improvements in line with the planning consent we obtained in 2016, which followed full, detailed consultation with councils and other stakeholders. We are confident that the improvements we are making in removing the A14 from Huntingdon town centre will make it easier for people to travel to, from and around Huntingdon as well as being a springboard for further regeneration.
“The plans include a major redesign for the train station area and a new public transport hub, new link roads and removing the old A14 viaduct, which currently dominates the skyline over the area and will also reduce noise and air pollution. We look forward to getting started on this work next year.”
Highways England said the alternative link road was not feasible because it was too close to sliproads on the de-trunked A14 at Spittals, would go through private land and would increase traffic past the hospital.