AFTER chaos on the A14 and surrounding roads on two consecutive mornings this week, South Cambridgeshire s MP, Andrew Lansley, has urged the Government to speed up the proposed £940million improvement scheme. A collision near Fenstanton on the westbound c
AFTER chaos on the A14 and surrounding roads on two consecutive mornings this week, South Cambridgeshire's MP, Andrew Lansley, has urged the Government to speed up the proposed £940million improvement scheme.
A collision near Fenstanton on the westbound carriageway between two lorries early yesterday (Thursday) morning, in which one driver suffered only minor injuries in spite of extensive damage to his cab, caused extensive tailbacks north of Cambridge and on the M11. Traffic diverted onto the A428 caused further disruption.
A lorry that burst into flames this morning, just 24 hours later, near Swavesey caused similar problems.
Mr Lansley wrote to Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon after the first accident, telling him: "You know that this is one of the most congested roads in Britain. It is in the roads programme but running two years later than originally intended. Once again, an accident on the A14 has led to delays right across the Cambridgeshire sub-region.
"The Government is looking at ways it can accelerate capital projects and boost the competitiveness and performance of the economy. Accelerating the progress of the A14 from Ellington to Fen Ditton, including access roads, would make a great contribution to these plans.
"As the new Secretary of State for Transport, would you take a look at this issue to ensure the work is completed? I would be very pleased to discuss this with you, along with our other local representatives."
The Highways Agency's plans, which can be seen at an exhibition in Huntingdon at the end of the month, involve making the road dual three-lane between Buckden and Fen Ditton, north of Cambridge, including a new southern by-pass of Huntingdon. Also in the plans are new parallel local roads between Swavesey and Girton, which would provide up to 10 running lanes - six on the A14 and a further four on part of the local road - to absorb the present daily traffic congestion.
The A14, part of one of the Trans-European Networks, is the only non-motorway to be part of Britain's strategic road network. The 22-mile improvement scheme was first announced on April 1 2003, when it was estimated to cost £490million and to be complete by 2010. It is now touch-and-go whether construction work will even start by then. It is now due for completion in 2015, with the demolition of the viaduct across the East Coast main line railway at Huntingdon as the last phase.
A public inquiry into the part of the route between Ellington and Fen Drayton is expected to take place late in 2009.