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27 June 2013, 13:02 | Updated: 27 June 2013, 15:16
The government has approved £1.5 billion plans to improve the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, announced the news in parliament this morning (Thursday 27 June).
The improvements will include making part of the A14 a toll road, with 'toll free' roads alongside it for genuinely local traffic, according to the Department for Transport.
The scheme forms part of a national £100 billion investment programme in key infrastructure projects in an effort to kick-start economic growth.
Mr Alexander said: "We will add two lanes to the busiest motorways, bringing another 221 lane miles to our road network.
It will see us tackle some of the most congested parts of our network, like the £1.5 billion A14 scheme between Huntingdon and Cambridge.
This is a scheme of strategic national importance, which will unlock jobs, housing and growth in the region, as well as providing key relief for a major freight route.
And I am delighted to announce that we will be bringing forward the start of construction by almost 2 years, to 2016."
The national plans set out by Mr Alexander included more than £70 billion of investment in transport, more than £20 billion in schools and £10 billion in science, housing and flood defences.
Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, Martin Curtis, said: "This is fantastic news and I would like to thank all our partners and the Government for working so closely with us on bringing forward this scheme.
Not long ago this was not even on the Government’s agenda and it took hard work and lobbying by us and partners to put this back on the table.
We now have a golden opportunity to sort out the problems on the A14 once and for all and get our local economy moving and reduce the appalling accident record.
We are very pleased that the Government has listened to our arguments about bringing forward the scheme to an earlier date.
Moving people, data and goods around this County effectively is key to continuing our economic success.
This announcement today gives us light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel.
We will now concentrate on working with Government to make sure the scheme is delivered as quickly and effectively as possible."
South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley has also welcomed the upgrade.
Mr Lansley said: "Britain is in a global race, competing with countries investing billions in their infrastructure.
In the past, we stood still while they moved forward.
But this Government has made good progress since 2010 to reverse that trend and these new plans build on that progress.
Cambridgeshire is Britain’s high-tech hub, but in order to maintain that reputation and ensure continued growth, we need to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century.
I am pleased that this government recognises how crucial our region is to Britain’s national economy, and has today committed to further invest in that infrastructure.
Top priority for the region is the need to get the A14 moving, and the Government has today given the upgrade scheme the green light with a commitment to invest £1.5 billion in the project.
This is tremendous news and will make a real difference to all of us who live in South Cambridgeshire.
In addition, there will be significant investment in our region’s superfast broadband connectivity to make Cambridge a Super Connected City."
MP for South Cambridgeshire, Andrew Lansley has told Heart, “Top priority for the region is the need to get the A14 moving, and the Government has today given the upgrade scheme the green light with a commitment to invest £1.5 billion in the project.
"This is tremendous news and will make a real difference to all of us who live in South Cambridgeshire.
"In addition, there will be significant investment in our region’s superfast broadband connectivity to make Cambridge a Super Connected City."