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20 October 2010, 16:18
Plans to upgrade a stretch of the A14 through Cambridgeshire have been halted as part of the government's spending review.
The proposals involved widening the road between Ellington and Fen Ditton.
The government has said that, in the current climate, the £1.4billion cost of the scheme is "simply unaffordable".
However, the Department for Transport has pledged to set up a study to "identify cost effective and practical proposals which bring benefits and relieve congestion" on the road.
Huntingdon MP, Jonathan Djonogly, has vowed to continue fighting for the upgrade.
He said: "As I am sure that most of my constituents are aware, I have been hugely supportive of the need for a new A14 since my election in 2001.
I still believe that the current A14 is not fit for purpose and is damaging for local economy, local businesses and commuters.
I fully understand that money is not readily available in the current economic climate and like all areas we have been affected in the worst possible way by the economic mismanagement of the previous administration that have made the cuts so urgent.
Whilst today is obviously a setback, I am pleased that the Department for Transport has recognised the importance of the A14 and rather than shelving the idea of a new road altogether has decided to investigate alternative solutions.
I will be working with other MP’s, Councillors and business leaders to press the case for a new road that is both cost effective and practical and if necessary, involving the private sector in some form."
Reacting to the Department for Transport’s Transport Spending Review Press Notice issued this afternoon, in which it re-confirms that it is withdrawing the A14 Ellington to Fen Ditton scheme, John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: "The Department for Transport has clearly put a price on economic success and growth for our region and has already decided it’s not willing to pay it, despite the Eastern region making the third highest return to the Exchequer in the country.
George Osborne’s rhetoric about supporting business growth and instilling the confidence needed for businesses to invest is meaningless when the Department for Transport itself admits that the route ‘faces severe congestion, and that mobility along the route is critical for economic success and success and growth.
We’re getting lots of talk and lots of words about the need to improve this route – what we need now is investment and action, not more studies.
The average road improvement scheme of this stature takes around 14 years from conception to completion – so if they’re not even going to look at it for another four or five years, it means almost 20 years before anything will be done.
How is it that the government has allowed a scheme, previously approved and deemed affordable, to have been so ineptly managed by the Highways Agency that businesses and individuals across our region are now going to be subjected to the delays and misery that this route inflicts for the next 20 years?"