Highways England is proposing for an 18-mile section of the A14 to be classified as a motorway once upgrade work is complete, under plans that have been announced today.
The move will create an unbroken motorway link between London and Peterborough, which Highways England hope will increase safey and improve journeys by encouraging Huntingdonshire based drives and long-distance traffic onto the suitable routes.
Highways England is nearly half way through the £1.5bn project to improve 21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon – the biggest road upgrade currently in the UK.
If the proposal is accepted it would mean that the motorway section of the improved road will be called the A14 (M) when it opens in 2020, and Highways England hope that it will improve driver safety as it will include variable speed limits to help reduce congestion and help traffic move more smoothly.
Highways England project director, David Bray said: “We want the A14 upgrade to be the safest and best road it can possibly be, and we now have an opportunity to make our already robust plans even better by putting the right traffic onto the right roads when the new A14 opens to traffic.
“We want the A14 upgrade to be the safest and best road it can possibly be, and we now have an opportunity to make our already robust plans even better by putting the right traffic onto the right roads when the new A14 opens to traffic.
“Creating a motorway link between the A1(M) and the M11 will mean motorists and hauliers carrying goods across the country will be able to travel more smoothly and safely, while local and slow moving traffic will benefit from the new routes we are introducing.”
Later this year, Highways England will formally ask the Planning Inspectorate to amend the road’s status from trunk road to motorway, in time for the project opening in 2020. The Secretary of State for Transport will then make the final decision next year.
If the change is given the go ahead, motorway status will also be extended to a three-mile section of the A1 from Alconbury to Brampton, which will be re-named as A1(M).
Cambridgeshire county councillor Ian Bates said: “The A14 was completely off the agenda until we led a charge with local MPs and partner councils to get the much-needed improvements on this congested road. We fully support the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon major upgrade, which is why we contributed financially.
“The A14 becoming a motorway will improve connectivity from the M11 to the A1 at Alconbury and will serve Peterborough. The upgrade of this road is vital to boost the local economy and create jobs. Cambridgeshire’s economy is recognised as being able to help kick start the national economy and unblocking the A14 plays an important part in that.”