AN £8-11million scheme to strengthen part of the A14 viaduct in Huntingdon will reduce the headroom by just 10cm on Brampton Road, sending over-height articulated lorries on a detour both ways along Huntingdon’s busiest road.

Traffic management arrangements considered on Monday include diverting trucks either into the railway station or along Hinchingbrooke Park Road, past Hinchingbrooke School round the tight roundabout by the hospital and back along Hinchingbrooke Park Road - recently voted by Hunts Post readers the most congested in Huntingdonshire in the morning and afternoon peaks - past the ambulance station and police and fire headquarters to make a right-turn into Brampton Road westbound.

Although Huntingdonshire's traffic management committee demanded further work on the right-turn into Brampton Road, it endorsed other arrangements, including sending HGVs into the station and the new bus waiting area there until the new link road between Brampton Road and Ermine Street is built.

Engineers clearly believe the weight limit in Huntingdon town centre will reduce the likelihood of such vehicles even being in the area.

"A survey of vehicles using Brampton Road has indicated that there are few vehicles that currently pass under the viaduct that would be too high to pass under it after the headroom is reduced," they told the committee.

"It is suspected that this is partly due to the environmental weight restriction in Huntingdon that includes Brampton Road. The drivers of these over-height vehicles would have to pass signs warning them of the headroom restriction before they arrive at the viaduct."

The work would not have been necessary at all had not Chancellor George Osborne abandoned in October 2010the Highways Agency's £1.2bn improvement scheme for the A14, which included demolishing the viaduct.

Huntingdonshire District Council's executive leader, Councillor Jason Ablewhite, said he was concerned that the Highways Agency was spending so much money on just one part of the viaduct before the study into future improvements to the A14 reports in the summer.

"None of the options that are emerging is entirely clear about what they want to do with the viaduct," he told The Hunts Post.

"The only way you could have a successful toll road is to make that a local road and take down the viaduct," he asserted. "It would be a shame if the Government came up with a solution that would mean the Highways Agency spending all this money to hold up a bridge that will have to come down anyway.

"And there's still no guarantee that the bridge won't fail somewhere else."