Major milestone as first cars make their way over new A1-A14 bridge
- Credit: Archant
A major new bridge linking Brampton and Grafham - built as part of the £1.5 billion A14 upgrade - has opened to traffic for the first time.
Sports cars, a mini tractor, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, cyclists and pedestrians all queued up to be amongst the first to cross the bridge after a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony took place.
The bridge, which will cross a new section of the A1 and A14 near Brampton, is much bigger than the bridge it will replace. The old bridge stands in the way of a new section of the A1 and will be knocked down at the weekend.
Brampton Parish Council chairman Cllr Simon Jordan led the opening ceremony and his niece Katya Arlow was one of the youngsters who cut the ribbon.
Cllr Jordan told the Hunts post: “It is a big bridge for a small road, but it does have 10 lanes under it because we are close to the junction.”
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He said the new bridge was a “very important” link for the Brampton and Grafham communities.
Members of both communities were present for the opening ceremony which took place in the centre of the bridge, with cyclists leading the way as the first users completed the crossing.
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The Brampton bridge is the second big crossing to be completed on the A14 upgrade, following on from the bridge on the A1198 near Godmanchester which goes over the route of the new road.
Work on the nearby 750m viaduct crossing the River Great Ouse near Offord is also reaching a crucial stage - with temporary closures of the river for boats about to be introduced while giant steel beams are levered into place.
Mike Evans, senior stakeholder manager for the A14 at Highways England, said the abutments at each end of the viaduct had been completed, along with some of the 17 spans.
“During construction of the span that crosses the river we will need to close the river to boat traffic at times for safety reasons,” he said.
“This is why we have applied for a navigation closure licence from the Environment Agency. This is expected to take place between February 19 and April 23, excluding the Easter weekend, and each closure should last no more than a few hours at a time and will be clearly signposted in advance.
“The closure to riverboat traffic will be controlled by marshals on either side of the works in a similar way to when the temporary pontoon was in place in early 2017.”
Mr Evans said construction of the viaductt is expected to be complete by the end of the year, enabling works traffic to cross without using a temporary bailey bridge.
Work started on the long-awaited A14 upgrade in November 2016 and the new road is scheduled to open at the end of 2020.