AFTER a false-start and a long wait, the proposals for the much-needed new A14 will take a step forward this week. Draft orders showing the line of route for the £1.2billion A14 improvement scheme between Ellington in west Huntingdonshire and Fen Ditton,

AFTER a false-start and a long wait, the proposals for the much-needed new A14 will take a step forward this week.

Draft orders showing the line of route for the £1.2billion A14 improvement scheme between Ellington in west Huntingdonshire and Fen Ditton, north-east of Cambridge are expected to be published today (Wednesday, September 30).

The scheme includes a new road from Ellington via Buckden to Fen Drayton - a new southern bypass for Huntingdon and Godmanchester - and widening to dual three lanes on the existing alignment between west of Cambridge Services and Fen Ditton.

The announcement will put a precise alignment to the Highways Agency's preferred route - more or less the Orange Route from the consultations - that was unveiled earlier this year. It includes demolition of the viaduct over the East Coast mainline railway at Huntingdon after the new road opens.

When that happens, the existing A14 between Fen Drayton and Huntingdon will become a local road in the care of Cambridgeshire County Council.

The scheme also includes additional parallel local roads between Fen Drayton and a completely re-modelled Girton Interchange, providing a total of up to 10 lanes over part of the route.

Today's announcement will also show whether the Highways Agency has been swayed by the view of Huntingdonshire District Council and Brampton and Buckden Parish Councils that the link between Ellington and the A1 should take a more westerly alignment than in the preferred route. That would leave scope for the A1 to be rebuilt further away from the villages at some time in the future.

A public inquiry is likely to be needed next year to hear the objections expected from the Offords, Hilton and possibly Buckden, so work on the new part of the road is unlikely to start before 2011, although widening work could start sooner.

The scheme - originally estimated (on All Fools' Day 2003) to cost £490million and to be open to traffic in 2010 - is now expected to be completed in 2015, provided the Government stumps up the promised cash.