The campaign to address the need for improvements to the A428 has taken a significant step forward after the congestion problems were recognised by the Government.
In a letter to Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, the Minister of State for Transport, John Hayes MP, has set out the progress of the Highways Agency's Felixstowe to Midlands Route Strategy.
The report for stage one identifies performance issues on routes, considers future challenges, and analyses the condition of the roads alongside expected growth in these areas. And dealing with congestion on the A428 is included.
Stage two of the report has now begun, and will be published in March next year. This will detail potential solutions for the route, including the A428, and look at how to pay for it.
Mr Hayes' letter was in response to a petition organised by Mr Djanogly to show support for improvements to the road – a petition that has attracted more than 1,800 signatures so far. It will continue to run throughout the process.
Mr Hayes wrote: “Stage one has identified congestion on the A428 between the A1 and Caxton Gibbet as an issue. Opportunities for improvements and the necessary funding required to deliver them up to 2020-21 will be determined following the strategy's completion.”
Examining the A428, the stage one report states: “This section [from the A1 to the A14] routinely experiences major delays both at its junctions and along its links during peak periods. This section of the route bypasses St Neots where there are major growth proposals.
“The route is a two lane dual carriageway between the A1198 Caxton Gibbet and the A14. This section bypasses Cambourne where considerable growth in housing and employment is planned. The A428 acts as a key corridor to accommodate Cambridge growth.
“The A428 junctions at Croxton, Eltisley and Caxton Gibbet all suffer peak congestion. In the absence of a wholesale upgrade of this section of the route there is a pressing need to address these junction issues in order to accommodate growth in the South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire districts.”
It adds that the average number of vehicles using the single carriageway section per day is 18,000, rising to 25,500 on the dual carriageway between the A1198 at Caxton and A1303 at Madingley, and 16,500 on the remaining dual carriageway section that links to the A14 Cambridge northern bypass.
Mr Djanogly told The Hunts Post: “It clearly is the case that this is now an issue that the Government has taken notice of.
“This is very far away from this time last year when it didn't register on everyone's list.”
However, he explained that it was still uncertain when improvements could happen.
He said he would now work closely with North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt, Cambridgeshire County Council, and its counterparts in Bedfordshire on the campaign to see the road upgraded.
He added: “I think the important thing now is that the pressure is kept on central Government so that this is kept at the forefront of this review.
“I don't think we can really gauge how high it is on the Government's agenda until stage two. Stage two is going to be more about solutions.
“It will be important at that point that we make sure our views are heard.”
INFORMATION: To sign the petition, visit www.jonathandjanogly.com/a428_petition.