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 examine it. The examination also includes the opportunity for members of the public to have their views considered.
Last year the Highways Agency received over 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.
Our consultation between April and June found that 85 per cent of those who answered the questionnaire agree the A14 needs improving, with over half (51 per cent) agreeing with our 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 4 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 4 February, members of the public who would like their views on the scheme considered by the Inspectorate must register as an ‘interested party’ which will allow them to submit any comments they have on the proposal directly at www.infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk as part of the examination process. The deadline to register as an interested party is by midnight on the evening of 12 March. Invited parties will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting and a six month pre-examination period begins. A report will then be compiled by the Planning Inspectorate and submitted to the Secretary of State for a decision.
If the order is granted, then work on the new scheme could get underway 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.
The application documents are available to view at various locations and these can be found along with more details on the scheme on our website.
For information about the development consent order (DCO) process see the Planning Inspectorate’s website
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.