USERS of the A14, businesses and local communities are being encouraged to take part in a six-week consultation launched today by Roads Minister Mike Penning to suggest how the A14 might be improved and paid for.

The A14 Challenge will deliver major improvements to this key Cambridgeshire transport corridor, according to the Department for Transport, which rules out tolling the road before improvement.

Mr Penning said: “I urge anyone with an interest in tackling the congestion problems currently experienced on the A14 to submit their ideas for improvements to the A14 Challenge.

“This is far from being a study about what the problems are – they have been studied before and are well known. This is a great opportunity for local stakeholders to shape the solution.

“We do not believe that, on its own, a simple road-building solution is likely to be the best option. That's why local knowledge and understanding in areas such as public transport, local roads, freight facilities and land use development is vital to enrich the final package.”

In last month's Autumn Statement, the Government announced its commitment to increasing capacity and improving performance on the A14. As well as boosting economic growth, this will support proposed housing developments in Northstowe, and Alconbury, and potential further development at Waterbeach, DfT added.

“One area where innovative ideas will be welcome is in financing major improvements. The Government has no intention of charging road users for an unimproved facility but would expect to consider tolling for enhanced capacity,” a spokesman said.

INFORMATION: A14 Challenge documentation can be found on the Department for Transport website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-20111212/