MPs, councils, and other organisations are “hunting in a pack” to champion improvements to the A428 and push for the Government to prioritise solving congestion on the road.
The A428/A421 Alliance had its first meeting on Friday (October 3), where attendees included Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt, and chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s economy and environment committee Ian Bates, plus representatives of the Highways Agency and local enterprise partnerships.
It wants investment from the Government to create a high quality, reliable route between Cambridge, St Neots, Bedford, Milton Keynes, and the Midlands.
The A428 has been identified as an issue as part of Stage One of the Highways Agency’s Felixstowe to Midlands Route Strategy, while Stage Two, which focuses on producing potential solutions, is due to be published in March next year.
The single carriageway section of the A428 from Caxton Gibbet to St Neots and the Black Cat roundabout are regularly severely congested, with motorists often rat-running through neighbouring towns and villages.
With major growth expected in the area, the group fears that the route could become a barrier to future developments and prosperity.
Similarly, traffic delays on the A421 on the southern edge of Bedford at its business and retail hub, its junction with the A6 during peak times, and the interchanges at Milton and Copdock on the A14 are additional areas of concern.
Mr Djanogly, who has been elected as chairman of the alliance, said: “It was an absolutely tremendous turnout. Everyone there has their own problems with the road, but we also agreed that the long-term development of the area is dependent on the best east-west transport links.”
He explained that members of the alliance will now set about “hunting in a pack”, with a two-pronged approach to the problem. While council officers will prepare their strategy, MPs will formulate their plan for making the roads a priority with Government ministers. Details such as finances, however, are still “some way down the track”.
He added: “It is more than just people griping about problems – it is an entire swathe of councils saying for the benefit of our local businesses and investment in our area, looking to the future, this is an essential component of our future growth strategy.”