£1.5billion A14 improvement scheme to open in spring, Highways England announces
The £1.5billion scheme to improve journeys on the A14 will open to drivers more than half a year early, Highways England has announced today (Thursday, February 6).
The Government-owned company has said it plans to open the A14 improvement this spring. The works were originally due to be completed by the end of this year.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The A14 is a vital route used by 85,000 drivers every day and including more than 21,000 hauliers transporting essential goods around the country.
“Opening this scheme more than six months early and on budget shows what the UK construction industry can achieve working with Highways England on the Strategic Road Network. I would like to thank them for their focus on our joint success and for their one team approach.
“Also, I would like to thank road users, residents and stakeholders for their patience and support during our work. This road is not just a piece of national infrastructure - it brings benefits to the region and local towns and communities too.”
The announcement follows the December opening of a part of the 21-mile scheme – a new 12-mile bypass south of Huntingdon – a year early. Already, the bypass has been used to make more than five million journeys.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “I’m delighted that the A14 upgrade will open ahead of schedule, not only meaning drivers will benefit from quicker and safer journeys sooner, but also ensuring that key access between the region’s ports and the West Midlands will be boosted.
“Investing in key transport links such as this is part of this Government’s plan to level up access across the country, ensuring all regions are better connected and improving journeys for all.”
Work on the project began in November 2016, and has employed around 13,000 people in total, with up to 2,500 working on site during the project’s peak.
Besides the Huntingdon southern bypass, the project includes an upgrade to the A14 between Swavesey and Milton, and a new local access road, the A1307, which runs parallel to it between Cambridge and Godmanchester. Approximately 24 miles of new routes for cyclists, walkers and horse riders are also included in the scheme.
The spring opening date will mark the end of permanent roadworks and reduced speed limits on the new A14 and the A1307, but the project team will still need to carry out a number of completion activities such as landscaping, installing some of the new technology, and work in the verges.
To carry out this work safely, some temporary overnight closures or off-peak daytime lane closures will be needed.
Commenting on the news, CBI regional director for the East of England Richard Tunnicliffe said: “Today’s news that the A14 will be finished six months early and on budget is a real cause for celebration in the region.
“This scheme is something that will make a massive difference to businesses and commuters in our area and will become a major artery to the Midlands.
“This scheme shows that the UK can deliver high quality infrastructure promptly.
“The CBI is utterly committed to campaigning for better road, rail and better infrastructure throughout the East of England.”