18-mile section of upgraded A14 set to become new Cambridgeshire motorway called A14(M)
Highways England say move will improve safety and create unbroken motorway link from London to Peterborough
The new, upgraded A14 in Cambridgeshire could become the country’s newest section of motorway under plans revealed today (September 7) by Highways England.
An 18-mile section of the road, between the M11 at Girton and the A1(M) at Brampton Hut, could be classified as a motorway – called the A14(M) – once the upgrade work is finished.
Highways England will formally ask the Planning Inspectorate to amend the road’s status, from trunk road to motorway, in time for the project opening in 2020.
The Secretary of State for Transport will have the final say on the decision.
The move will not only create an unbroken motorway link between London and Peterborough, but will also increase safety and improve journeys – motorways have a better safety record than A-roads and include more traffic management technology. Having motorway status will allow the A14(M) to have variable speed limits which reduce congestion and help traffic move more smoothly.
Highways England project director David Bray said: “We want the A14 upgrade to be the safest and best road it can possibly be, and we now have an opportunity to make our already robust plans even better by putting the right traffic onto the right roads when the new A14 opens to traffic.
“Creating a motorway link between the A1(M) and the M11 will mean motorists and hauliers carrying goods across the country will be able to travel more smoothly and safely, while local and slow-moving traffic will benefit from the new routes we are introducing.”
He told the Cambridge Independent yesterday that the unbroken motorway link would be “fantastic news for the region and the communities”.
He added: “It will improve safety, which is imperative, and improve customer experience and journey reliability.”
Mr Bray confirmed that the move would not impact on the budget or timescale for the project.
Highways England is nearly halfway through the £1.5bn project to improve 21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntington. The upgrade work east of Girton would be unaffected by the motorway plans.
Cambridgeshire county councillor Ian Bates said: “The A14 becoming a motorway will improve connectivity from the M11 to the A1 at Alconbury and will serve Peterborough. The upgrade of this road is vital to boost the local economy and will create jobs. Cambridgeshire’s economy is recognised as being able to help kick-start the national economy and unblocking the A14 plays an important part in that.”
If the change is given the go ahead, motorway status will also be extended to a three-mile section of the A1 from Alconbury to Brampton, which will be re-named as A1(M).
Some, slower moving vehicles would be prevented from using the motorway section and would have to use the routes for local traffic included in the A14 project.
For the latest information about the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme, visit highwaysengland.co.uk/a14c2h.
More by this authorAndy Veale