By Bunty Waters, District Councillor for Bar Hill
The long-awaited announcement on proposals for the A14 upgrade has been published – www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme.
A series of local public exhibitions has also been organised, including:
- Longstanton Park and Ride Amenity Building (unstaffed) – Tuesday 17 to Saturday 21 September 2013.
- Bar Hill Village Hall, The Spinney, Bar Hill, CB23 8SU (staffed) – Tuesday 1 to Wednesday 2 October 2013, 11.00 am to 8.00 pm.
- A14 Cambridge Services CB23 4W (staffed) – Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 October 2013, 11.00 am to 8.00 pm.
Please do your best to go to one of these exhibitions and give your comments.
Although these are part of an informal consultation period, don't be deceived by the word 'informal' – the proposals could still be changed before they go to "formal" consultation.
And your input really matters!
There are changes which will have considerable impact on communities west of Girton who rely on the A14 – so it really is important to get your feedback in.
The website explains that the project 'has involved a value-engineering exercise, which has helped the Highways Agency to identify technical solutions that can provide a similar level of benefits at a lower capital cost.' That at least sounds good.
Among the proposals, the Huntingdon Bypass will become a two-lane (previously three-lane) dual carriageway from Ellington to Brampton, widening to dual three lanes between Brampton and Swavesey.
There is to be a new intersection with the A1 at Brampton and the current A1(M) will be extended southwards to it and widened to three lanes. This is a major change over previous proposals.
Swavesey to Milton will also be dual three lanes, with an extra lane (not in the original proposal) added between Bar Hill and Girton. The Ellington to Swavesey section will be tolled, but no tolls will apply east of Swavesey.
Tolling will be via numberplate recognition cameras and will cost £1 to £1.50 for cars, £2 to £3 for HGVs.
One of the major problem areas on the current A14 is the Huntingdon viaduct which is crumbling and needs very expensive replacement. The 'solution' adopted is to dismantle the bridge and not replace it!
The Highways Agency say a through route through Huntingdon will be provided. They also say this will improve air quality along the old A14 route – but don't mention the terrible effect on air quality through Godmanchester and the Huntingdon Ring Road.
The Highways Agency point out that if they replaced the viaduct, too much traffic would avoid the tolled A14 - draw your own conclusions from that!
So, local residents wishing to go from Swavesey to the north, south or west must choose between:
- Paying a toll and going south on the A14(M) at Swavesey.
- Continuing on the old A14 to Godmanchester and crawling through Godmanchester and ending up at Brampton or Spitalls roundabout.
This is the biggest change contained in this new A14 upgrade proposal. The other concerns the local access road arrangements.
The original proposal was for the local access roads to be two lanes wide in each direction. This has now been reduced to one lane wide between Fen Drayton and Girton.
The Highways Agency is proposing to close the A14 Dry Drayton intersection, but there is no mention of whether the local access road will still connect to it.
Apparently a scheme to widen the Girton to Histon section to dual three-lane has already been approved – I didn't know this – and it is proposed to extend that as far as Milton, but not to Fen Ditton as under the earlier proposal.
I hope you share my concerns about these proposals – and whether you agree or are only curious, please do go to one of the A14 exhibitions and have your say: every opinion counts.
Contact Bunty Waters
District Councillor Bunty Waters
T 01954 201 421
M 07734 690 580
Bunty represents the villages of Bar Hill, Boxworth, Dry Drayton and Lolworth. Her local Conservative colleagues are:
- Discrict Councillor Roger Hall 01954 780 304 / 07986 415 244 / Cllr.firstname.lastname@example.org
- County Councillor John Reynolds 01954 200 571 / 07720 379 699 / email@example.com