Brampton campaigners urge Highways Agency to consider their A14 alternative
- Credit: Archant
A campaign group has called on the Highways Agency to seriously look at an alternative to the A14 upgrade which, it says, would provide an easier solution.
The Agency is accused of ignoring the possibility of upgrading alternative routes to the A14 and being focused entirely on providing a new route for the road, creating a Huntingdon bypass and bringing down the viaduct near the railway station.
But campaigners in Brampton believe that a new road near the A428 could provide a better solution.
The Brampton A14 Campaign Group, which has major concerns about the A14 proposals and air pollution in the village, said if current plans went ahead, villagers would be faced with the effects of 10 lanes of combined A14 and A1 traffic within 300 metres of some homes and near a primary school.
Its proposition sets out a vision for road improvements that includes retaining the Huntingdon viaduct (updating it at a later date) and existing A14 capacity, and upgrading the A14 to motorway standard between Huntingdon and the M11 at Cambridge – called the A14(M).
Westbound traffic would be sent along the A428 – upgraded to become the M11 West – with a new road stretching from Caxton Gibbet to the A1 at the Black Cat roundabout.
There would also be a new interchange, allowing traffic on to a fast A421 to the M1 and through to the Midlands.
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The A428 would be retained as a local road linking the A1 and the A1198.
Eileen Collier, chairman of the group and a Brampton parish councillor, said that it wanted to “join forces” with the A428/A421 Alliance, which is campaigning for improvements to those roads, to bring about improvements together rather than piecemeal changes to the network.
Cllr Collier said: “The current A14 upgrade scheme would be horrendous – who knows the impact on public health?
“My prime concern has always been the health of Brampton’s children. It has always been the children, but also the quality of life. Brampton is noisy as it is and people should be complaining about the current situation.
“We know the A14 work is needed because there is a lot of traffic that needs to go somewhere. Our scheme would certainly be a huge improvement on what is currently planned.”
The group said the Highways Agency had a duty under Treasury rules to consider schemes that present value for money.
However, a Highways Agency spokesman said: “We have been consulting on the options for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme since autumn last year, enabling people the opportunity to comment.
“We feel the solution we are promoting is the agency’s best solution in addressing congestion on the A14 route.
“We are currently considering the comments received during this year’s public consultation and will be submitting our application for a development consent order to the planning inspectorate this autumn.
“Once we have made our submission to the Planning Inspectorate, and it has been accepted, they will seek views on our proposals and people will have the opportunity to make any representations directly to them.”
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, chairman of the A428/A421 Alliance, said he would like to work with the Brampton A14 Campaign Group.
He described some of its ideas about reducing the environmental impact of traffic as “interesting”, but he supported the Highways Agency’s plan to pull down the viaduct.
He said: “I am at one here with the district council and the county council and the vast majority of local people, who understand the constraints that the viaduct is imposing on the development of Huntingdon and think that it’s best that it comes down.”
Other features contained in the campaigners’ scheme include a park and ride site at Brampton racecourse served by the guided bus.
There would also be an electric-powered shuttle bus service between the site, Brampton village, Huntingdon railway station and Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
The scheme put forward by the Highways Agency includes removing the viaduct in Huntingdon, widening a section of the A1 trunk road between Brampton and Alconbury, a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon, and detrunking the A14 between Ellington and Swavesey.