Get A14 back on track

BUSINESSES suffering from delays to the £490million A14 upgrade between Ellington and Fen Ditton are being urged to write to Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander to urge him to get the scheme back on track. Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce has launche

BUSINESSES suffering from delays to the £490million A14 upgrade between Ellington and Fen Ditton are being urged to write to Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander to urge him to get the scheme back on track.

Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce has launched a campaign demanding that the fast-tracking of component parts of the improvements to the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge be made a key priority of the Highways Agency. They are also urging that the allocation of funding be guaranteed.

John Bridge, chief executive of the chambers, said: "A recent publication by the Institution of Civil Engineers warned that the A14 was at breaking point.

"It is not just the infrastructure that is at breaking point, it's the businesses and individuals that are thrown at its mercy on a daily basis that are at breaking point too.

"Improvements to the A14 have been put back and back as we have been let down very badly by the Highways Agency not doing effectively what they were instructed to do, and the plans are now running at a five-year delay based on original timelines.

"Now we are calling on them to fast-track component parts of the scheme and get back to a 2008 start to provide Cambridgeshire businesses and individuals the infrastructure support they deserve and many depend upon to run successful, prosperous companies.

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"The consequences of waiting until 2015 for completion are totally unacceptable to the businesses and individuals who are adversely affected by the current delays and mayhem, which is why the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce is now campaigning to see the timetable brought forward so that certain parts of the scheme can commence in 2008 in accordance with the recommendations of the CHUMMS report," he explained.

The western part of the scheme, which includes a new southern bypass for Huntingdon, has been delayed by a legal challenge by residents of the Offords. A new 12-week consultation process is due to begin next month.

Mr Bridge is urging that work could still go ahead on widening the stretch between Cambridge Services, near Swavesey, and Fen Ditton, north of Cambridge.

INFORMATION: Businesses and individuals can download a letter of campaign to send for the attention of the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP, from www.cambridgeshirechamber.co.uk.

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