10 February 2012
The A14 challenge
Councils across Cambridgeshire have come together to provide a joint response to the Government's challenge to resolve the issues of the A14
Local authorities from across Cambridgeshire have come together to put forward a joint response on how to solve the issues of capacity, congestion and safety on the A14.
The A14 Challenge, launched last year by the Department for Transport, asked organisations, businesses and residents to give their ideas on how to improve the A14 corridor.
In response, the County and District Councils in Cambridgeshire have looked at a number of different issues taking into account the national, regional and local importance of the road, the need to support the world class economy of the area and address the environmental issues of new infrastructure.
In conclusion, the Councils have put forward the following proposals in response to the Government’s A14 Challenge:
- The need for major highway improvements on the A14 between Girton, Fen Drayton and the A1/ A14 at Ellington. Funding options are also explored, including some form of tolling, as private finance may be needed to at least part fund the cost of construction.
- New highway infrastructure to carry local traffic and access villages and towns in the A14 corridor which would be free to use
- 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.
Cllr 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.”
Cllr 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.”
Cllr 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.”
Cllr 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 plc’ 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."