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24 January 2013, 15:40
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond has told Heart improvements to the A14 are 'pretty near the top' of the government's agenda.
Mr Hammond has visited the Shire Hall HQ of Cambridgeshire County Council today (Thursday) to discuss proposals to upgrade the road.
Proposals for a major improvement scheme to the road between Ellington and Fen Ditton stretch as far back as 2005.
Plans for a large-scale upgrade were scrapped by the coalition government shortly after they came to power as they were deemed too expensive.
Last July, the government announced a major improvement will go ahead, however no details about this have yet been confirmed.
Since then, £20 million pounds worth of smaller schemes to improve parts of the A14 have been confirmed, such as junction improvements and traffic warning matrix signs.
Speaking following a meeting with Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke, Mr Hammond told Heart: "We'll be able to make some really positive announcements later in the year about when the improvements will start, when they will be finish and how they will be funded.
There is going to be a funding summit here in Cambridgeshire in February, and my officials will be part of that.
It is pretty near the top of the government's agenda."
Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke said: "I am very pleased that the Minister has accepted my invitation to talk personally about speeding up the delivery of these vital improvements.
It is a sign of the importance the Government have put on this project and how much they have been listening to our arguments.
Cambridgeshire is recognised by Government as a key driver of the UK economy and the A14 currently acts as a barrier to future prosperity and business growth.
This scheme is vital to managing the growth in homes that Cambridgeshire has but more importantly not improving this road comes with a human cost, in terms of tragic accidents.
That is why I am delighted we have been working with the Government to get this scheme on the table but also why it is so vital that this scheme is built sooner rather than later.
Our businesses, communities and economy can't wait but importantly neither can reducing the terrible accident toll."