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9 February 2012, 09:10
It could soon cost money to use the A14.
Cambridgeshire County Council, along with the area's district councils, are recommending road tolls are looked at as a way to raise money to pay for transport improvements.
Cash raised from this, or another private finance initiative, would then be put towards improvements on the A14 between Girton, Fen Drayton and the A1/A14 at Ellington.
They're also suggesting a road for local traffic, which would be free to use, is built to connect villages and towns alongside the A14.
Another recommendation is 'the removal of the Huntingdon Viaduct and reconfiguration of the town centre roads to improve access to Huntingdon and connection with the emerging Alconbury Enterprise Zone.'
The suggestions are in response to the government's 'A14 Challenge', where local councils, businesses and residents were asked for ideas to cut congestion in the area.
Councillor Nick Clarke, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "The A14 Challenge is a unique opportunity to put forward innovative and radical solutions to resolve the many problems which the A14 causes our residents and businesses as well as those using it for longer distance travel.
By putting forward the idea of a tolled road for long distance traffic while giving local residents the option of a local road; we believe we have found a solution which meets the needs of us all.
Our county and region have the capacity to drive forward the nation's economy but only if we put in place the infrastructure which will support this growth.
Our response to the A14 challenge shows how determined we are to tackle this issue once and for all."
Councillor James Palmer, Deputy Leader at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "While Cambridgeshire is rightly known for its business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit but is often forgotten that we are at the heart of the country's road and rail network with cars and trains running east to west and north to south.
It is essential to the success of our economy that we develop a first class infrastructure to ensure our residents and businesses can prosper in the future.
We believe the solution we are putting forward could be the key."
Councillor Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "There is simply not enough tarmac on the A14 for the amount of traffic using this important route now and in the future, and major investment is needed to improve safety, and to make sure growth and our local economy is not strangled.
The proposals we have put forward look to address the problems, but in a more creative and affordable way that will see benefits nationally and for our residents and businesses in South Cambridgeshire."
Councillor Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council said, "No one today would dream of routing a trans-European route through the heart of an historic market town as is the case with the route of the A14 in Huntingdon.
I believe that together we are presenting a clear and concise case as to why this whole project is vital to the future economic and financial prosperity of the UK at international, national, regional and local level.
It is important that we join together with Government to promote and deliver a realistic and viable solution as soon as possible.
We would not wish to watch a bad situation get worse and fail our communities, particularly in terms of health and safety and environmental issues."
Councillor Alan Melton, Leader of Fenland District Council, said: "Investment in the A14 is absolutely vital for further economic growth in Fenland.
It is particularly important in the absence of any major announcements about improvements to the A47, the other main east-west route.
We are fully behind these imaginative proposals. We believe they would significantly increase the ability of the whole Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP, of which we are a part, to achieve the sort of growth that we need in the district."