WORK on the new A14 is expected to start in about three years’ time after the preferred route was finally announced today (Wednesday). The Transport Minister Tom Harris announced the A14 would follow the Orange route. The 11.8-mile stretch of road will

WORK on the new A14 is expected to start in about three years' time after the preferred route was finally announced today (Wednesday).

The Transport Minister Tom Harris announced the A14 would follow the Orange route.

The 11.8-mile stretch of road will run to the west of the existing A14 between Ellington and Fen Drayton and south of the Buckden landfill site and Wood Green Animal Shelters.

Mr Harris said: "With 65,000 to 85,000 vehicles using the A14 in Cambridgeshire each day, the scheme will improve journey time reliability and safety on the A14, which will be a benefit to local and long distance drivers alike."

The new A14 will have three lanes in each direction while the existing A14 through Huntingdon will become a local road and the Huntington railway viaduct, which currently carries the A14 across the East Coast Main Line, will be removed and replaced a junction.

The next stage will be to appoint a contractor to develop the design.

Councillor Ian Bates, leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "We welcome the decision and our message to the Highways Agency is just get on with it.' We really do want to see work actually starting in 2010.

"We recognise that there are a number of environmental issues such as noise and light pollution, and these are matters of concern to local people and we look forward to working with the Highways Agency to see how we can minimise the impact of these."

"In respect of the proposals to widen the A1, we see this as a golden opportunity to put measures in place to mitigate the adverse effects of noise and other pollution which that road currently has."

Councillor Peter Bucknell, executive councillor for planning strategy, environment and transport, added: "This is good news for Huntingdonshire.

"I particularly welcome the removal of the viaduct over the railway line which will offer tremendous opportunities for Huntingdon and the surrounding area and we can now work that into our vision for Huntingdon.

"We welcome the views of local people on these proposals."

However, not everyone is happy with the decision. Nita Tinn, chairman of the Offord A14 Action Group, which has been campaigning against the Orange Route, said: "We are disappointed but not surprised by the announcement because the Orange Route was supported by both Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. However because we a group that represents the village we will be holding a public meeting in December to discuss a way forward. The choices will be should we continue to oppose the Orange Route or should we widen our remit and oppose the road as a whole and ask for the councils to look at other ways to reduce congestion like putting freight on rail."