Rapid progress means drivers could be using parts of upgraded A14 as early as next year
- Credit: Archant
Drivers could start using a new stretch of road being built as part of the £1.5billion A14 upgrade as early as next April.
Part of the A1 at the new junction with the A14 near Brampton is set to open next spring as contractors move on to the next stage of the work.
More than a quarter of the project’s main building work has already been completed as contractors mark the first anniversary of construction starting, with 2.5 million cubic metres of soil - the equivalent of 1,000 Olympic swimming pools - having been shifted to create foundations for the road and its junctions.
More than 2,000 people have been working on the road, which is scheduled to be ready by 2020, followed by further work in the Huntingdon area to complete local roads and demolish the current A14 flyover above the railway station.
Construction of the 21 miles of road between Huntingdon and Cambridge are on schedule. The scheme includes a new southern bypass for Huntingdon, running on a new route between Swavesey and Brampton, and widening of sections of both the A14 and A1.
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A 750-metre long viaduct over the River Great Ouse is being built, together with an adjacent crossing of the East Coast Main Line railway - where the first bridge sections were scheduled to be put in place at the weekend.
Jim McNicholas, A14 construction director, said: “We are on time. We are certainly on target to complete by the end of 2020.
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“It is a really good place to be at this stage of the project.”
Mr McNicholas said planning was at an advanced stage for the demolition of the A14 flyover at Huntingdon, with the bridge being dismantled and the sections lifted out in order to protect the railway underneath.
David Bray, A14 project director at Highways England, said: “This is a huge amount of progress and we are well on the way to transforming journeys on this vital link between East Anglia and the Midlands, connecting businesses, communities and families.
“The improvements we are delivering between Cambridge and Huntingdon are vital for the local area and for the country’s economy. We set out to deliver world leading infrastructure improvements a year ago and this is exactly what we have been doing so far.”
Mr Bray said: “We have been using innovative ways of working to speed up construction, such as making our own concrete building parts on-site and using temporary bridges to move construction materials across site without having to use the main roads.
“And we have done all this while looking after the environment alongside the project.”
Thirty-four bridges and structures are being built as part of the project, 20 of which are already under way, and contractors have also had to deal with groundwater problems, the discovery of archaeological sites, including 25 ancient settlements, and environmental issues, with three out of 18 wildlife habitats created and fish having to be moved between ponds to protect them.