A demolition team has successfully completed the first major stage of taking down a viaduct which has dominated Huntingdon’s skyline for more than 40 years.
They have removed a beam from the viaduct which passes over Huntingdon railway station and Brampton Road and is being demolished as part of the A14’s £1.5 billion upgrade.
It was third time lucky for Highways England which had made two earlier attempts to remove a beam from the bridge which ran into technical difficulties.
A huge lifting machine was able to extract the concrete beam in one piece and will now remove a further 17 beams as part of the process to take down the viaduct which is around 45-years-old and was a key part of the then-new A14.
Highways England said: “Our work around Huntingdon is progressing well.
“Over the weekend and with special COVID-19 working measures in place, our team lifted the first beam off the old A14 viaduct.
Another 17 beams sitting directly over the railway will be removed over the coming months.”
It said: “To carry out this work safely, Brampton Road, B1514, including pedestrian access, will be closed between the Ringo station car park and Edison Bell way while the beam removals are carried out.
“Dates and times for the closures will be shared in advance and a full diversion route will be in place.”
Work started on the long-awaited upgrade between Huntingdon and Cambridge, Britain’s biggest road project, in November 2016 and it was expected to be completed at the end of this year - but the scheme ran ahead of schedule, with the main stretch of road being finished in the spring and the 12 mile Huntingdon bypass opened last December, year early.
Work is continuing in the Huntingdon area on links which will serve the town once the viaduct is taken down. The stretch of the old A14 between Fenstanton and the Spittals interchange has become a local road, renumbered as the A1307.
A series of road widenings and improvements between Ellington and the Milton area at Cambridge were included in the upgrade which will cut long delays on the road which links the port of Felixstowe to the Midlands.