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2 February 2015, 10:42
Plans for a major new bypass, widening the existing A1 and A14, improvements to Huntingdon Town Centre and new local access roads in Cambridgeshire have taken a major step forward.
The planning application for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme has been accepted by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate who will now look at it in detail. We can also have our say on the plans, which will be considered by the panel.
Last year the Highways Agency had more than 1,400 responses, including 1,152 completed questionnaires, during a formal consultation on the scheme which could cost up to £1.5bn. As a result of the responses several design changes were made to the proposal.
The consultation between April and June found that 85% of those who answered the questionnaire agree the A14 needs improving, with over half (51%) agreeing with the proposed solution.
Mike Evans, from the Highways Agency’s A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon project team, said: “Obviously we are delighted that our application has been accepted, and it was good to see that the majority of people agree with our proposal. Once completed this vital investment will relieve congestion on one of the busiest parts of this strategic network between the Midlands and East Anglia and will support both national and economic growth.
“We received a high number of responses during the consultation last year. We listened to the feedback, and where we could, we have made several changes to the design for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme.
“I strongly urge anyone with an interest in the A14 plans - whether living locally or outside of Cambridgeshire, whether in favour of the proposals or not - to register as an ‘interested party’ with the Planning Inspectorate. This can be done via their website from 4th February.”
The improvement scheme will involve a new major bypass between Swavesey and Brampton, widening the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury, widening the existing A14 between Swavesey and Girton, improving the junctions at Bar Hill, Swavesey and Girton, Huntingdon town centre improvements to include the demolition of the viaduct and a new local access road.
The plans will be examined by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate as part of an application for a development consent order. From 4th February, anyone who wants their views on the scheme must register as an ‘interested party’ which will allow them to submit any comments they have on the proposal. You can do this here. The deadline to register is by midnight on the evening of 12th March.
If the scheme gets the go ahead then work could get underway next year, in 2016. The new bypass and widened A14 would be open to traffic in 2020. Work to demolish the viaduct over the East Coast Mainline at Huntingdon, along with de-trunking of the A14 between Huntingdon and Swavesey, would then get underway.
Many of the changes made as a result of last year’s consultation were relatively minor in nature such as junction and side road layouts, private accesses and environmental mitigation.
A few others, the changes to the arrangements in the Ouse Valley south of Brampton are more significant. The new proposals comprise a nine-span viaduct over the Ouse, a shorter length of embankment, a further five-span viaduct across the Ouse floodplain, a second short length of embankment and a single-span bridge over the railway. This will have less impact on the floodplain.
At Brampton the positions of the A1 and A14 has changed to provide environmental benefits to Brampton village and to remove the previously proposed loop for A14 westbound to A1 northbound traffic.
Improvements have also been made to facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders.
For information about the development consent order (DCO) process click here.