A MAJOR upgrade of the A14, including a new southern bypass of Huntingdon and Peterborough and part-tolling, is back in the national roads programme, the Department for Transport announced this morning.

The department said it was also backing a park-and-ride site at Alconbury with links to the guided busway and an express bus service between Peterborough and Cambridge.

The A14 improvement package includes "widening of the Cambridge Northern Bypass between Milton and Girton and enhancement of the Girton Interchange; provision of high standard roads for local traffic use running in parallel to an enhanced A14 carriageway between Girton and the area near the current Trinity Foot A14 junction; and construction of a bypass to the south of Huntingdon between the area near Trinity Foot and the A1, at both ends tying in with the existing A14," the DfT said.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "The A14 is a crucial strategic route for the east of England, vital not only for international road traffic using the port of Felixstowe but everyone who relies on it daily.

"This is why my department has been working hard to generate innovative and imaginative solutions to tackling long term congestion and I am pleased to be able to unveil what we believe to be the best option for people living locally as well as those who see it as a lifeline to international markets.

"It demonstrates yet again that this coalition government is focused on delivering economic growth and our determination to do everything we can to support delivery of key national infrastructure."

The schemes will now enter the DfT roads programme and begin detailed design and statutory processes.

In the meantime, the department added, the existing A14 carriageway will be upgraded through the removal of accesses and junctions, and improvements to junctions at the northern and southern ends.

Councillor Jason Ablewhite, executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "I am delighted that this announcement has been made today. The A14 is an extremely important route through Huntingdonshire. The measures announced by the DfT will help to make the road safer and to ease congestion. It is a vital link to aid our local economy and we have campaigned hard on this issue, I am very pleased to see that progress is being made. This is great news for the residents and businesses in our district and beyond."